(Pop) Icon: Britney

Aug
22
2014
R. Luke DuBois
(Pop) Icon: Britney, 2010

video, custom wood frame, screen with player, speakers
21.5 x 19.5 x 6″ / 54.6 x 49.5 x 15.2 cm
60 min, loop
edition of 6

(Pop) Icon is a series of works considering the shifting meaning of icon. εἰκών (eikon – image), the original Greek word, was used to signify an object of veneration, a staple of Eastern Orthodox and Catholic religious art, depicting religious figures in highly stylized and symbolic (“iconic”) poses and tableaux. Pop stars (so-called pop “icons”) in American culture find themselves in a similar situation; subjected to a constant mediatization, they become objects of veneration themselves. When they find themselves embroiled in scandal or subjected to gossip, the cognitive dissonance of us, their audience, is analogous to our experience of fallen angels. While this is true for many pop stars in recent years, no one fits this profile more strongly than Britney Spears. Britney is the first pop star to exist entirely in the age of AutoTune and Photoshop. All of her vocals are digitally corrected and she lip-syncs her live performances; as a result, there is precious little phonographic record of Britney actually singing, merely the digitized re-synthesis of her voice, perfectly in tune. Her imagery, digitally cleaned, cropped and altered, is similarly perfect. And her media image, to quote Chuck Klosterman, perfectly embodies the madonna/whore dichotomy embodied in the American objectification of famous women: “she’ll never give it up, because she already has.”

dubois_popiconbritney

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