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concept: Ani Vaseva
photography: Ivan Donchev
theory: Boyan Manchev

with: Elena Dimitrova, Iva Sveshtarova, Ani Vaseva, Margarita Petrova, Milena Stanojevic, Stlla Krusteva, Irina Goleva and Vladyia Mihaylova

June 2010, "Vaska Emanuilova" Gallery, Sofia

The War Of The Little Girls is an installation consisting of colour photographs of little girls fighting with each other; a human size doll in ambivalent pose with a teddy bear; a monitor with sequence with other pictures of fighting little girls.

While today's socio-economic models produce the ‘little girl’ as a figure of extreme objectifying – the perfect, non-resistant, ‘soft’ object of desire, which is at the same time the ideal educated and non-resistant consumer – new version of the passive platonic matter, formed by the perfect market forms-products, this project, in response, aims at the radical re-subjectivization of a little girl’s figure: the little girl as an alternative model of subjectivization. Little girls are a form of life associated with whimsical desires and endless infantile pleasure. However, the desire for infinite pleasure is the herald of a vehement force, it nurtures the anarchic power of rebellion. Not surprisingly, ‘little girls’ today are threatened by being included in the economic systems that exploit any strength of resistance, appropriate its inherent features and transform them into a market lure, into the ‘face’ of a product.

The uncontrollable power of ‘little girls’ can be easily exploited as an instrument, and turned into a media show pursuing the ultimate goal of production and sale of imagery products. The perverted media-economic spectacle that producec (from Japan to USA) the pink-sentimental image of the Barbi-girl, successfully exploits the regressive pedophile libido of the collective unconscious.

The War Of The Little Girls criticizes precisely that spectacularity, which reduces the ‘authentic’ form of life to a lifestyle. The protograpgic images of combating little girls are composed beforehand and pretend to be “spontaneous”, imitating unmediated reflection of accidental situation and play with the gaze of the model, very often “by chance” fixed at the camera. Tension builds up in the images, between the spontaneous, chaotic energy of the little girls and its spectacular, directed media representation.

The little girls in The War Of The Little Girls are power that could transform into aggression inside the group, making the image of the combating little girls a double parody. On one side this is a parody of the “soft” girl images of perfect “pink” consumers, revealing that (their) world could be free and wild, i.e. full of violence, and on the other side – a parody of the erotic “manga” or “gothic” transformation of the little girl in demonic (i.e. sexual) power: the alternative spectacle, exploiting regressive collective libido and colonizing the subjectivation and the imagination of the little girls.

The War Of The Little Girls is based on the ambivalence, on the semi-darkness. The images are always on the edge; it remains unclear if the little girls are in pain or enjoying themselves, if they are really violent or having fun, if they ask for help or are looking at the lens of the photo camera; there is a doubt what exactly is this little girl doing, enfolding the teddy bear with her legs. The War Of The Little Girls isn’t affirming some free emancipated form of life, but shows that every “emancipatory”, or “alternative” ideology inevitably falls into certain mechanisms of representation that lead to media spectacularity. In some sense the media spectacularity is reductive appropriation of those political emancipatory propaganda images. Thus presented the images of the combating little girls show how the “wild” form of life is actually “sculptured” in “cult” images; they attempt to explore the mechanisms through which the form of life self-mythologises itself and in the end falls in the trap of the media spectacularity and myth. The operation of composing an “authentic” image of the form of life produces lifestyle, which on its turn produces new “authenticity” and its corresponding images. Still, for us, most important remains the point where the spectacularity grip locks its trap upon itself, and criticism is reversed into a validation: the point at which the vehement energy of little girls breaks loose, or cannot be at all subjected to the control of the media-economic show; the point where it becomes a joyful affirmation.

Boyan Manchev


Article in Literaturen Vestnik, p 6
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