Friday, 13 July 2007

Extreme Reinvention

Just by way of a quick rejoinder to earlier posting on Ernst Friedrich's archive documenting war & human disfigurement, the thought occurred to me that it would be very interesting to trace any possible continuities between the push toward extreme reinvention, witness plastic surgery, what sociologists are calling "the new individualism", with the genesis of such techniques in the war economy of the early 20th century (see incredible vintage footage of tin facial prosthetics below).

Indeed, what lessons might we learn today, (i.e. beyond Kenneth Gergen's earlier work on "The Saturated Self"), not only in light of Friedrich's work, but in light of the availability of The Gillies Archive on the world wide web?

TASA Public Lecture 2006 is being presented by Professor Anthony Elliott on the topic of "Extreme Reinvention: The Rise Of Makeover Culture"
Hosted by the Flinders University Sociology Department, the lecture is being held in Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of South AustraliaOn Tuesday September 26, 2006 at 5.30pm - 7.00pm

"In this provocative public lecture on the social consequences of makeover culture, Anthony Elliott investigates what drives people to demand instant self-reinvention - from plastic surgery to online therapy, from compulsive consumerism to the self-help movement. He argues that we are witnessing the emergence of a "new individualism", and outlines a novel sociological perspective on people's emotional experiences of globalization.
The lecture will focus on the debate over globalization, with particular stress on the consequences of global transformations for the self and identity. Contesting mainstream explanations that view today's craze for reinvention as a result of the cult of celebrity, Elliott argues that an "ambient fear of globalism" haunts the new individualisms surfacing in the polished, expensive cities of the West. Surviving the new individualism, he suggests, is central to the tasks of a public sociology".
Brief Biography:
Anthony Elliott is Professor of Sociology at Flinders University . He was formerly Chair of Sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury , UK . Professor Elliott's writings have been translated in ten languages, and his recent books include Critical Visions: New Directions in Social Theory (2003), Social Theory Since Freud (2004), Subject to Ourselves (2nd Edition, 2004) and, with Charles Lemert, The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization (2005).

The Gillies Archive

"Since Autumn 2004, Artist and Project Leader Paddy Hartley has been interpreting the personal and surgical stories of servicemen who underwent pioneering surgical reconstruction to repair horrific facial injuries incurred in battle during the First World War.
Working from original patient and surgical notes of the men which form part of The Gillies Archive, Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup along with personal family archive material of the men, Hartley uses digital and hand embroidery sculptures using uniforms similar to those the men fought in to tell fragmented personal histories of the men who endured long and painful reconstructive surgery developed by Sir Harold Gillies and his surgical team.
Working in partnership with Gillies Archive Curator Dr Andrew Bamji at Queen Mary's Hospital Sidcup and Biomaterial Scientist Dr Ian Thompson at in the Oral Maxillofacial Dept, Guys Hospital London, this ground-breaking project funded by a Wellcome Trust Sci-Art Production Award provides a unique opportunity for Paddy Hartley to examine and respond artistically to the origins of surgical facial reconstruction, compare current techniques in facial surgery and the development and implementation of bioactive materials for the repair of facial bone injuries.
The project has two distinct components that have their own, very unique objectives, yet are bound together by a series of common links".
An Artistic Response to the Gillies Archive.
Designing Bioglass Implants, the Artist/Scientist Way.

Tin Facial Prosthetics by Ladd and Wood
Back to previous page Printable version
View amazing silent film clips of Anna Coleman Ladd and Francis Derwent Wood making and fitting tin facial prosthetics to injured servicemen circa 1916.

No comments: