Don’t you love it when cameras do weird things? I was trying to snap a pedestrian passing this giant inflatable Marine, and ended up with an interesting composite of the man looking at the soldier, turning away and then vanishing completely. These things can’t be planned!
The Marine Corps. had set up a recruiting booth outside the EMU on the UO campus, and it was creating quite the hubbub. I challenged myself to find art within this strictly ordered, superfunctional, intentionally homogenized culture.
I won’t argue that the mass-produced inflatable is art, exactly. Something can be said for time’s effect on the designer’s original intent, though. As the ridiculously ripped, strangely legless man’s posture sags and his eyes disappear beneath the brim of his hat, he looks less like a hero that might inspire young people to enlist and more like a threatening authority figure.
What really interested me was a pull-up bar, which looked like a bummer to my stick-armed self, but seemed to be attracting many a potential jughead. The girl in the picture hung there for several minutes, and you could see people stopping to watch her cling to the bar.
It’s performance art if I’ve ever seen it! Of course, it’s as much an ad as it is any sort of artistic performance. The participants aren’t marines though, which creates interesting relationships and dynamics within the “piece.” What is the woman’s story, her reasons for hanging in such a precarious position? Does she feel the need to prove herself? Will she join the Marines, or is she just playing a game? Oh, and is that Marine on the right really allowed to text on the job?