Laura A Dima and Martin Draax share a particular interest in fetishised stereotypes of women. Martin has always used Pin Ups in his work and Laura has been performing with specific ‘Alter Egos’. Their mutual interest led to a collaboration in a project they called ‘The Identity Machinery’ in which they try to give new meaning to the stereotypes - or rather use them as media.
The project had a start-off as an ‘Instagram Soup opera’ but developed into a broader body of work, because besides this mutual interest, they turned out to be a streamlined artistic couple in more ways: Martin tends to think in 2D, whereas Laura thinks in 3d. Costumes needed to be found and altered or completely designed, the characters needed to be photographed in an exclusive surrounding, design needed to be applied. In the process, ideas for short films and music arose and so The Identity Machinery grew into a working method rather than one art piece.
The Identity Machinery started as an Instagram Soap Opera, in which stereotypes were recreated, followed and given a new life - that is: women are, and have been through out history, objectified and clothes are, and have been a method to divide people into tribes.
If women were objectified, partner artists Laura A Dima and Martin Draax took the objects and made them into subjects - characters in an ongoing story. But the characters in their soap are one and the same person, suffering from a ‘Multiple Reality Disorder’ - indicating any woman can be or become anyone she wants. Or is she led by external forces like opinions, peer pressure, cultural conventions, changing insights? Does she use her attire to get things done or are things done to her and therefore she wears the clothes she wears? In any case, the audience will judge her - as soon as she is in the public area.
As they like to play with the tendency of an audience to be rather quick with opinions, they use the stereotypes and their costumes as media in all works of ‘The Identity Machinery’. Inspired by the MAYA system as coined by Raymond Loewy: they used cliche’s to bind an audience that is not particularly interested in art, and once triggered, they dragged them deeper into the concept. Playing with people’s judgements, they now created a work that is hard to place: artists and art connoisseurs wonder if this is art at all, novice spectators don’t realise it’s an art project they are following.
For the poster, we look ahead to a future performance: our characters play a role in a designated space that is something between a panopticon jail, a museum, a church, a lab and a street view from The Red Light District. Are these women showcasing themselves? Are they being showcased by another force? Are they designed? Are they options of a free mind? Are they avatars in a game to play?
Below the light boxes is the lyric ‘Multiple Reality Disorder’ which is a song written for the project, to be performed by the characters playing different instruments. In this way, the poster is an artwork of it’s own, as well as an advertisement for the project.
- Collaboration with Martin Draax