The Void

The Void

 

A hallow hole portrayed via line contours using mainly 4 colors, I decided to create an artistic depiction of suicide. Suicidal rates within the MEDCs have drastically increased along with the rapid economic development of these countries, and South Korea (my motherland), unfortunately has the highest suicidal rate within the countries listed with high living standards. Regardless of gender, social status and or age, many people feel victimized and threatened to commit suicidal acts or have such thoughts due to various social pressures.

 

Using the golden ratio of 1: 1.618·, I created a void that seems to be draining the surrounding environment which is shown through the chromatic contour lines that concaves in to the hole. The hole in this piece of work represent the temptation to give up one’s life due to social and environmental pressure. Thus, in order to make the hole appear somewhat positive and alluring, I used chromes of high intensity hues in red, blue, green and yellow. The hallow of the hole depicted in black and shades of saturated greys show the reality of committing suicidal acts; which are dark and leave regrettable consequences. The occasional monuments and objects that are positioned around the hole convey social pressure that is forcing people to be allured into the hole.

 

Through this piece of work, I aim to create a piece of work that not only depict the issue of suicide, but the cause of it. I also purposely used vibrant colors to show suicide in the perspective of those affected by it, and how to them, suicide may seem like the best option. Thus, allowing people to understand and ultimately help those suffering from such a state, instead of neglecting them.

 

Research Paper: High Heels

A fashion object and symbol, high-heeled footwear is weighed with meaning as well as the wearer’s body weight. Unlike the main role of the shoe, high heels go beyond simply protecting the foot. It allows the wearer to appear taller, and slimmer by accentuating the calf muscle and the length of the leg. High heeled shoes were originally created to be worn by men during the 10th century which helped riders stay in the stirrups. However, high heels eventually transformed throughout history into an essential fashion item we are more familiar with today.

 

Historical records state that high heels first originated during the 10th century by the Persian cavalry. High heeled boots were not a signifier of gender, but instead worn for their effectiveness in stabilizing the riders body, especially when they stood up on galloping horses to shoot arrows. This soon transformed into an item to express the wearer’s wealth, as horses were expensive to own, thus having high heeled footwear implied that the wearer had significant wealth. This practical and effective use of the heels had set the standard for most horse-back riding shoes throughout history and eventually into the present day as cowboy boots. Heels became visible once again in history, during the 12th century India which can be seen from the Statue of Woman the Ramappa Temple, located in Southern India. The female statue appears to be wearing high raised shoes which can be identified as high heels. It is interesting how one of the earliest record showing an Asian culture embodying high heeled foot ware came from India, which is known for its barefooted culture. Later, in Europe, during the Medieval period, high feels were worn by both men and women, for hygienic reasons. It was used as functional item in order to raise the wearer’s feet out of the trash and excrements which filled the streets.

 

High heels eventually transformed into a fashion item during the 17th century by the upper and middle class of both genders. Unlike today, high heeled shoes were not a signifier of gender, but worn as a symbol of upper class status. High heels were impractical and uncomfortable footwear with extravagant decorations, thus being suitable for those who did not need to work yet financially stable like the nobles. This can be seen from various portraits painted during this time, a common representation being the Portrait of Louis XIX, a painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud. In this renowned portrait, Louis XIV appears like the pillar of normative aristocratic masculinity, wearing oversized fur cape and velvet with high whore heels. Interestingly, during the similar period of time, upper class members began to order their heels to be made even higher to distinguish themselves from the lower classes. Thus, authorities began regulating the length of a high heel’s point according to social rank which can be seen in Klaus Carl’s book Shoes: “½ feet   for commoners, 1 foot for the bourgeois, 1 and ½ feet for knights, 2 feet for nobles, and 2 and ½ feet for princes” (Klaus Carl 2011, 72).

Heels started to get gendered in their designs during the 18th century where men’s heels grew broad and sturdy while women’s became tapered and decorative. However, heels were soon abandoned by men due to its inefficiency and were eventually dominantly worn by women. Since then, high heels became firmly established as a lady’s shoe. However, with the French Revolution in 1789, the aristocracy and their frivolous styles went out of vogue. Heels—“deemed the epitome of female irrationality and superficiality” (Mary Holmes 2007, 02)—went out of fashion for an extended period of time.

However, with the invention and development of photography, heels were once again coming into fashion. First within pornography, as thin heels heels made pin-up models appear more seductive and appealing. The pinups, which were usually hung in men’s barracks during World War II, almost always had high heels on. When the war ended and the men returned to their original status, the stiletto was invented, bringing “fashion into alignment with male erotica” (Tara Kelly 2012). Heels eventually became common for the public use through photography and media which were published for public display on the streets. Production of heels increased with the invention and eventual mass production of the sewing machine, which allowed for easier and quicker production of commercialized heels.

Due to WWI and WWII, many countries set regulations for rationing almost all aspects of life, including materials previously used for making heels such as silk, rubber and leather. Thus these materials were replaced with less precious materials such as cork and wood. Change in materials was not the only outcome of the war on the development and manufacturing of heels, as these wars increased international relations and a more proliferate sharing of fashion through photography and films were established, helping with the spread of high heel fashion via globalization. Furthermore, WWII led to the popularization of pin-up girl posters, which as mention previously, would often hang in men’s bunks while at war. Almost all of these girls were pictured wearing high heels, which lead to an increase in the relationship between high heels and female sexuality. The tall, skinny stiletto heel was invented in the 1950s, strengthening the relationship between women, sexuality, and appearance.

As depicted above, high heels’ intricate and complex history has led to a variety of cultural thoughts and lens through which people view high heels today. High heels became very gender exclusive, and very few men appear wearing heels. Secondly, high heels are many times used as tools to portray women in a sexual way, as heels accentuate the “gender specific aspects” of a woman’s body, making the female form more attractive. Some also debate that the arching woman’s back facilitated by wearing high heels signal a woman’s willingness to be courted by a man. However, whatever the reasons may be, high heels are considered fashionable and trendy, which may be the ultimate reason why it remains popular until today. Today, there are countless variety of high heels that are produced by a broad spectrum of fashion companies, which range from height, width, design, medium and color. These designs constantly change with the rapid shifts in trend and media, as well as the technological developments that aims to create prettier, and comfortable heels.

High heels have come a long way since its invention to become the fashion object with significant importance. First as an efficient wearable object to an item to gasconade high social status, and into a fashionable wear. The stiletto may be the only design that is physically painful, but has somehow persisted for centuries and is still being loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

Veldmeijer, André J. “Ptolemaic Footwear from the Amenhotep II Temple at Luxor.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 47 (2011): 319-34. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24555401.

 

“The Gender-Bending History of the High Heel.” Slate Magazine. June 19, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/06/19/_99_invisible_roman_mars_the_gender_bending_history_of_the_high_heel.html.

  • The website contained broad information of the history of heels, allowing me to use it as a starting point of the research about heels.

 

“High-heeled footwear.” Wikipedia. November 12, 2017. Accessed November 29, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-heeled_footwear.

  • The website had plenty of information gathered from multiple sources which was a good starting point to get a basic idea of the history of heels for my research.

 

Report, Post Staff. “The history of high heels — from Venice prostitutes to stilettos.” New York Post. January 25, 2015. Accessed November 12, 2017. https://nypost.com/2015/01/25/the-history-of-high-heels-from-venice-prostitutes-to-stilettos/.

  • The website has detailed information about heels in different periods. The information contained within this article was reliable and contributed to my research in history of heels.

 

“The Gender-Bending History of the High Heel.” Slate Magazine. June 19, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/06/19/_99_invisible_roman_mars_the_gender_bending_history_of_the_high_heel.html.

 

Kremer, William. “Why did men stop wearing high heels?” BBC News. January 25, 2013. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21151350.

  • The sources come from BBC which is a reliable website for sourcing. There are second-hand information gathered from historical records that depict the history of heels which contributes to the necessary information I needed for this research paper.

 

McDowell, Colin. “Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy.” London: Thames and Hudson Inc., 1989.

Accessed November 14, 2017.

  • This source had gender specific and more modern information about heel which I needed for the second half of the research paper.

 

Mary, Holmes. “What is Gender? Sociological Approaches.” Sage Publications. June 18, 2007. Accessed November 14, 2017.

  • The book had interesting viewpoints about the correlation of gender with heels which I used towards the end of my research paper to show the different symbolic meanings of heels.

 

“‘Roger Vivier: Process To Perfection’: Bata Shoe Museum Exhibit Sheds Light on History of the Stiletto.” Huffington Post. May 14, 2012. Accessed November 14, 2017. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/roger-vivier-process-to-perfection-stiletto_n_1503390.html

  • The article contained reliable information about the influence WWI and WWII had on the bringing heels back into fashion. This contributed to the modern information I needed for the second half of the essay to comment about the transformation of heels into a fashion item.

 

Klaus, Carl. “Shoes.” Parkstone International. July 11, 2011.

Accessed November 14,  2017

  • This book contained some basic information about the different types of heels and the different materials that can be used for the manufacturing of heels. The information within this book contributed to the general gathering of knowledge about modern heels.

 

The Homeless

Giving money to the homeless is an economic crisis of the heart. An act to relieve our guilt rather than to fix the underlying crisis of poverty. It is a tug-of-war between the instinct to alleviate suffering and the knowledge that a donation might encourage, rather than relieve, the anguish of the poor. Studies on homeless income from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show that the average beggar who dedicates his time overwhelmingly to begging can make between $600 and $1,500 a month. However, studies also find that 60% of the homeless respondents admitted to using all the money earned within the next 24hrs. Given the likelihood of self-reported bias, the given number could be even higher. Panhandlers often have no way to save their money, being incentivized to spend their daily earnings quickly. Thus, creating a tendency to spend on short-term relief, rather than long-term needs, which can feed on their dependency on alcoholic and or drug relief.

 

Giving to beggars induce bad long-term incentives. As example, when traveling to an LEDC, many beggars can be located in tourist attractions (as tourists are better sources of income to these people). However, giving to the needy does not make these local beggars richer, they only multiply. An economist Tyler Cowen once wrote “The more you give to beggars, the harder beggars will try. [….] which again limits the net gain to beggars”. Many homeless charities, with support of researches and surveys, suggest that the best way the public can help the homeless is to make donations to a homeless charity. This allows the homeless to be benefited with the proper necessities rather than the risk of spending on short-term relief when they’re to be given cash.

 

It is an inevitable fact that people who beg are often the most vulnerable in our society, and many will be struggling with relative poverty. However, the most visible aren’t the only ones that requires support. There are more “invisible” homeless who are actively seeking jobs rather than to be a “career panhandler”. “I hit the streets looking for work, my only resume a stint in a factory, vestiges of an incomplete education, and an immaculately starched waitress uniform” (Patti Smith 2010, 35). Like Patti Smith and the other active unemployed seeking jobs, it may be more productive and ethically right to provide help for those who seek change that are less visible to the public’s eye than those who are more visible. Like Henri Matisse once said, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them”.