WARNING: The following post has some images which contain nudity. It’s not explicit, but is done in an artistic manner. Nevertheless, I maintain a policy of advertising viewer discretion so that my audience can self-censor what they care to see or not. If nudity bothers you or you’re too young to look at it, please don’t proceed any further. Navigate your web browser somewhere else.
The first time I saw Aimee Mullins, she looked like this (on the left):
Except at the time, I had no idea it was Aimee Mullins, or even who Aimee Mullins was. The first time I saw that image was probably two years ago, in a college modern art class. The photo was in my textbook, describing the Cremaster Cycle (<–Wikipedia explanation. Actual website here.) by Matthew Barney. (I blogged once before about Matthew Barney here.)
I remember looking at the photo and being shocked. It’s a pretty forward piece, designed to have shock appeal. At first I wasn’t sure if it was a trick of the eye or if the woman really was wearing a prosthetic. (Turned out to be the latter.) Then I wondered what woman would be brave enough to pose for such a piece, in such unusual attire (or should I say lack of attire). I can’t even begin to imagine how Barney proposed the idea to her the first time.
It turns out Aimee Mullins never cringes away from a challenge. She’s a very brave woman who crosses over into many worlds: athlete, model, motivational speaker… It was in this last role that I finally came to know who the mystery woman in the Cremaster Cycle was. I was in an education class and we watched this inspiring TED Talk by Aimee Mullins on the Opportunity of Adversity.
But I still hadn’t made the connection between Aimee Mullins and Matthew Barney. It was when I got curious about Mullins that I watched more of her TED talks. It was in this one that I had my a-ha moment. In the video Mullins talks about her project with Barney and how she wore custom made artistic prosthetics for the photoshoots. She projects an image from their collaboration onto a large screen, showing how she played the role of the cheetah woman. In her TED Talk she challenged viewers to reinvision the relationship between functionality and aesthetics when it comes to prosthetics. (I touched on this idea in my earlier post about artistic prosthetics.)
So there you have it. If you, like me, didn’t know who Amy Mullins is, now you’re in the know. She’s an inspiring woman from many viewpoints, and she has made her mark in the art world.