Being Prada Seen


Single Channel Video, 03:21
Optic Verve show at Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada, 2001

The idea of branding and its connection to the cultural, historical, economic, psychological and sociological field that surround and embrace it has captured my attention. In the year 1998-1999 the Prada fashion brand was extremely powerful and people wearing Prada clothes were unmistakable and highly attention grabbing or as Paul Virilio says “phatic”. In this video, I simply roller blade down the West Side Highway as seven video cameras at different camera angles videotape me. In the editing room these separate views are reassembled into a single work of art. Superimposed on this footage is a special effect made by digitalizing the video at a high speed. As such, it becomes a kind of contemporary motion study reminiscent of the work of Marey or Muybridge. This is significant because the original reason for Marey’s research in the Bois de Bologne, Paris was to investigate movement for the army who were interested in increasing the efficiency of their marching troops. The troops had to march long distances and were suffering from a 19th century problem called neuro asthenia which made them very tired. The fact that I wear a Prada outfit with the Prada brand displayed quite prominently signifies the extent to which the body has become incarcerated in a prison of signs manufactured by global capitalism. The body is but a pawn in the system of signs created to take hold of our desire. Being Prada Seen is investigates the alliance of technology and global capitalism in the production of the subject, a subject tethered to and defined almost solely by those networks.