JAIDEN E. BENZ, MA
- Eugene Lang College, New York. Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Arts (Cultural Studies).
- Parsons School of Design, New York. Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography.
- The New School for Public Engagement, New York. Master of Arts, Media Studies + Management.
In today's society we are constantly subjected to heavily formulated images and messages, and fail to actively investigate how the consumption of these homogenized (images and) messages are affecting our cultural and social structures. Mass culture and mass consumption often hinder the developement of the individual because of its strong influence and ability to shape and mold icons and consumers. My art seeks to expand and draw from the investigation of the human self and its relationship to these social practices. The content and method of my art breaks out of traditional photographic boundaries and mirrors the evolution and intertwining of society and technology.
Project Statement, Test Tube World
The gay male has become a very profitable target market for advertisers and many corporations. This phenomenon is one of the foundations for Test Tube World. Test Tube World is a series of images that is meant to provoke discussion and dialogue. Each piece represents the hidden issues of homosexuality, medicine, and the law. Each image is transformed into a more public representation by utilizing the techniques and ideology of advertising.
The medical industry is a key influence to this series of images and will be integral as an agent used to provoke the discussion of these issues. This influence is shaped by topics such as HIV/AIDS, the current and previous laws that have restricted homosexuals from donating blood, sperm, and tissue, the discrimination which commonly occurs against homosexuals when receiving medical care, and the doctor/patient relationship. Past theories, studies, and developments in psychology are also integral to this project because of its influence in the clinical treatment of homosexuality, laws which discriminate against homosexuals, and commonly held stereotypes of this social group.
Each image in this series is a carefully constructed combination of imagery and text, and have been outputted as digital inkjet prints. The choice in tools used to produce and output this project is meant to reflect the process used to create commercial billboards and most importantly aid the viewer by using the same production methods of the advertising industry and placing these pieces under the same context of commercial billboards meant for consumption and interpretation. Each image is meant to stand alone, but when viewed as a whole with all the images in the series, it is hoped that a more dynamic and evocative dialogue will be provoked.