Leaky Bodies & Royal Lactation (Alison Jackson)

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I should have known better, but I thought these things, staged and photographed by Alison Jackson were real. Maybe because I found them in New York Magazine (July 8-15, 2013), looked right at the pictures in a combination of stunned disbelief  and puerile snicker without reading the text. Is that how visual pranks work? The grotesque fatness of the baby, the milk drop caught midair from Prince William’s strap-on breast, the exposed Duchess of Cambridge, not to mention the sheer unlikelihood that the royal family would have allowed such pictures to be distributed much less taken –all of this should have tipped me off; also the fact that publication of the photographs would have set off a media firestorm about which we all would have already heard. Crossing over the line between the real into the fake and simulated, the fact that probably millions of other readers got this wrong with me goes to show that Vilém Flusser was right about the kinds of improbable information that characterizes “the photographic universe” in which we live. In this world, all kinds of  things are possible. These pictures of leaky bodies, simulated breasts, and royal Holy Family must have something to do with Christendom and technology.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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