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2019 Annual Conference


March 07-10, 2019

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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Shiloh Burton

SPE Member since 2006
Member Chapter: West

Mapping Multiplicity, Body as Projected Site: A Peepshow

Mapping Multiplicity, Body as Projected Site: A Peepshow series attempts to tackle the problem of what to do when one’s identity has been rendered invisible, unrecognizable, illegal, criminalized, and/or erased. The Identity Intelligence Institute (II Institute) creates situations, contexts, and installations to offer embodied experience as evidence to the contrary of these current power dynamics within the United States of America. Mapping Multiplicity, Body as Projected Site: A Peepshow creates a multi-layered dialogue about the meaning of identity and of the photograph that moves beyond essentialism, normative inversion, and unilateral oppression. Originating from the voyeuristic tradition of a peepshow, the II Institute compresses the space, place, and time between model and photographer by offering the model an active role in the creation of the image. This temporal map displayed on the body complicates distinctions between model and audience, author and subject, photograph and performance, document and image to investigate notions of representation.

Maps denote what is important, places and sites of power that must be recognized. We all want “to be on the map.” The photograph is offered as proof of existence and authenticity in verifying one’s identity on various forms of identification . Yet, people and places exist in space and time which are both temporal, contingent, malleable and sentient. This series explores the geography of self and combines the topography of the interior and exterior experiences onto the site of one’s body to portray a more complex account of identity. Creating living maps of the territories of beingness, models are blurring boundaries and claiming space, naming, making, and marking existence in ephemeral, mutable, impermanent expressions.

In Mapping Multiplicity, Body as Projected Site: A Peepshow the model’s body becomes a canvas and a landscape simultaneously. Receiving projected images of skins from other’s bodies, natural textures, and built environments the model then looks at a reflection in a mirror and defines his/her pose. The photographer (shiloh burton) then makes a photograph.

The source location of identity construction may be mere appearance, but the politics of being seen and of seeing come alive through embodiment, action, and practice- not representation exclusively. The body simultaneously creates a site for performance and personification. Identity is something we do, not something we are. Yet we constantly try to use the photograph to bare witness to what we do and therefore construct a statement of who we are. From “selfies” to professional portraits, from passports to employment badges, and from photojournalism to citizen journalism the photograph plays an integral part in our sense of self and of society. Moreover, the shifting and permeable boundaries of the body and the image work in concert to define our reality from anatomy textbooks, media representations, and medical journals. Mapping Multiplicity, Body as Projected Site: A Peepshow represents the textured illusory embodied site of self in community.

Documentation of Peepshow






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