All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

Ruin Porn Series Found Dress, digitally printed silk, dye and glass beads 36" x 24" 2010

Ruin Porn Series is inspired by the common and stereotypical tropes of national news coverage of the city of Detroit. This insider term “ruin porn” reflects the general frustration of residents with the media’s obsession with the beautifully manipulated ruined, burnt out building photograph that seems to accompany every piece of reportage published, no matter its relevance to the topic of discussion. This kind of image has become an icon for the city itself, undercutting progress made to improve upon the city’s image and attract new residents and businesses. The ruin porn image itself is at the most basic level problematic because of its exploitation of the abandonment and poverty that these ruined buildings evidence, using a visually poetic language that almost glorifies this condition instead of questions it. I take on these images by appropriating the most notable images used in news reportage and printing them onto fabric. By working into the image with tactile, lush, visually lavish materials such as beads, thick strokes of paint, chiffon and satin, I simulate the sexiness inherent within the media image in a more direct way. The iconic and luxurious renditions of the images relate to our cultural fascination and consumption of images of destruction and despair, these images often reproduced in the form of postcards and expensive coffee table books, looked upon by those with the luxury of fascination that experiential distance allows for. My goals within the work are to implicate the image in visual excess to the point of grotesque hoping to both seduce and repulse the viewer with the image and the piece as a whole.