Specially Marked Boxes

Touchstone Award - Best Digital Art 2011
Accepted to Festival of the Moving Image 2010

“In America I saw the freest and more enlightened men placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords; it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures. The chief reason for this contrast is that [the poor] do not think of the ills they endure, while the [well-to-do] are forever brooding over advantages they do not possess. It is strange to see with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue their own welfare, and to watch the vague dread that constantly torments them lest they should not have chosen the shortest path which may lead do it.”

-Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” (1835), translation from French by Thomas Bender

Specially Marked Boxes is based on the concept that the American people are always striving for a utopia. We never settle for second best. If things aren’t perfect, our worlds implode. In reality, our pursuit of an ideal world has lead us into dystopia. In the case of Barbie, girls look at her long legs and cinched waist and want to be “perfect” like her. Although Barbie is featured in different everyday situations, video of the consequences of her leisure are projected onto the scene to represent what’s behind her perfection.

The theme for our first project in Advanced Digital Arts Studio was Utopia/Dystopia. My partner, Jon Van Hoff, and I, based our idea on the concept that the American people are always striving for a utopia. We're never satisfied with anything less than perfect. Barbie represents this unattainable utopian ideal of beauty and perfection. I projected images on top of Barbie to reflect the dystopic bi-products of our fight for perfection. Jon did a rough sound design for our draft which will be enhanced later.

This is how our first draft came out.

And this is our final product!

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