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“Thinspiration Fanzine” – Art, Activism, or What?

Barcelona-based Laia Abril photographs anorexic women she has never met. Sitting in a dark room with her camera pointed at a computer screen, she reframes and recaptures photos she sees in online “pro-ana” and “thinspiration” communities:

I re-take their self-portraits, photographing and reinterpreting their images from the screen, resulting the visual response to the bond between obsession and self-destruction; the disappearance of one’s own identity. The project is a personal and introspective journey across the nature of obsessive desire and the limits of auto-destruction, denouncing disease’s new risk factors: social networks and photography.

The results are shocking:

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But is retaking someone else’s work, no matter how sick or public, really “photography”? Is it art?

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Art makes us think and feel big things. Her work certainly does that. But so, one imagines, would the original pictures. The artistic sensibility is here, but it strikes me more as artistic curation and activism than creation. It’s collecting, selecting and sharing. Which is a creative endeavour. And very 21st century.

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Whatever it is, it’s shocking stuff.

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See more at Laia Abril’s site.

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more
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