Content Aware

A 6-channel video installation I made as part of the Graduate Certificate of Visual Art (Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne). Inspired by the commercial work I was doing at the time which involved retouching product and talent shots for online beauty advertising, I used the Photoshop Content Aware Fill tool to remove not just the imperfections, but all visible skin, from contemporary online beauty ads. This video shows the test setup inside my house, consisting of 6 devices positioned on reversed-out cardboard boxes. This setup was then recreated at the VCA.


The perfect human

Short sequences of YouTube ads were altered frame-by-frame in Photoshop. The sequences were then chopped up, slowed down, repeated and frame-blended in After Effects to create surreal, dreamlike loops which ran across a TV, 3 laptops, an iPad and an iPhone. The aim of this project was to reflect the barrage of hypnotic fantasy images we are subjected to every day, and to address the erasure of human imperfection which underpins the beauty industry, dehumanising both the subject and the viewer. Even though we're well aware of the tricks employed in the production of "beautiful" advertising images, we continue to be seduced by them - recurring, sensuous, incomprehensible, reflecting our fears and our desires, they keep a strong hold on us like dreams. The work, by removing all instances of human skin, reflects the emptiness I feel when confronted with beauty advertising, an acute sense of the disconnect between ephemeral, "beautiful" simulacra on the screens around me, and the mental picture I try to hold onto, that of my own tangible, imperfect human face.