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Naked Power: The Homeland Security Collection
December 18, 2004 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Homeland Security - multimedia artist and activist John Douglas portrays himself as a one-man citizen soldier army in a series of provocative photographic tableaus. NSFW.
posted by madamjujujive (16 comments total)

 
Read a review of the exhibit at the University of Vermont's Living/Learning Gallery.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:11 AM on December 18, 2004


very good.
posted by brevator at 6:44 AM on December 18, 2004


oh, so that's what nick nolte's been doing lately...
posted by pxe2000 at 6:52 AM on December 18, 2004


Clever, but I just couldn't get passed the old man saggy ass in the first pic. Anyway, I think this is just an excuse for John Douglas to photograph himself nude. Still, clever.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:07 AM on December 18, 2004


SO not fair, pxe2000... you beat me to it!

The last page has a security team in the snow. He looks more than a little uncomfortable... brrrrr.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:20 AM on December 18, 2004


I found his use of different hats and sunglasses for each pose in several shoots rather interesting. It gave quite a different appearance and persona to each... *cough* ...exposure.
posted by SemiSophos at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2004


The terrorists are quaking in their sandals.
posted by Balisong at 9:29 AM on December 18, 2004


Neat. About 14 years ago I worked for Douglas when he ran a series of spots in commercial slots on TV. Each spot seemed like a commercial but there was no product (for its time, that was something) but there were undercurrents of racism and xenophobia throughout the series. I found the videos rather fascinating (which is why I volunteered to work for him). A number was on screen so people could call in with their comments/complaints/what have you. I manned the phone for 2 weeks or whatever the time period was. Not a single person called.

What's weird to me about this series is that I thought Douglas was Canadian (at the time I worked for him he was in Vancouver). I guess it could be a different Douglas but the work is too thematically similar for me to believe that.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2004


His style and technique (if not his subject matter) reminds me a lot of the work of Anthony Goicolea, another artist who uses self-portraiture and multiple exposures to create ... very creepy stuff. The amount of time and planning that goes into each photograph by both artists is remarkable. Great find, madamjujujive.
posted by contraposto at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2004


excellent
posted by muckster at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2004


That is neat.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2004


Call me uncultured, but how does his nudity make this artistic? No, I can't see the latent beauty in an old ugly body. These remind me of a foul photo series that some relatives concocted for their local history club. It was called: History Buffs.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2004


You Should See: did one of the commercials involve a white man thinking he recognized a black man, and the black one saying "I'm not ------"? Saw that in a museum a coupla years ago.

Stranger: I'd call it art if he was clothed. Taking off his clothes doesn't make it less valid as art. I don't know if my perception of the nudity matches what he's trying to express - he might just like being naked in pictures - but the way I see it, if he was wearing combat fatigues, that would give a different feeling to the pictures; suits and ties, another feeling; wedding dresses, another. Without the clothes, I don't project any values on the subject based on what he's wearing. (The clothed boat picture gives a different sense than the naked boat picture for example.) He's just another person who, like me, has no clothes on underneath his clothes.
posted by mistersix at 2:32 PM on December 18, 2004


Interesting. Creepy. I enjoy it.

Definitely looks like NolteCon 2004, though.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:05 PM on December 18, 2004


...if he was wearing combat fatigues, that would give a different feeling to the pictures; suits and ties, another feeling; wedding dresses, another.

I would like to see a single picture of his doppelgangers dressed variously in fatigues, suits and ties, and wedding dresses, all in the same shot, all holding guns. But that's because I have a peculiar sense of humor.

I riffed on the real pics for a while and came to the conclusion that even though he was actually naked, he felt comfortably secure because he was hiding his nakedness behind a gun.

Which is pretty much what Homeland Security is doing.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:49 AM on December 19, 2004


You Should See the Other Guy, that sounds like it must have been a neat experience. Here's his home page - maybe you will find some evidence of the project there.

Thanks for the Goicolea links, contraposto, that art is creepy but cool. I agree with you about what an amazing amount of work this represents, and as miss lynnster points out, some undertaken in difficult conditions. Page 3 has some stills from the shoot from the railroad track sequence, and I can just imaging what the Coast Guard thought - can't say I blame them for following him.

I enjoyed reading peoples' opinions here. Myself, I quite liked this work - it's provocative, it makes you think, and it has the appropriate level of humor and absurdity to it for the topic.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:19 AM on December 19, 2004


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