Friday, July 29, 2011

Aesthetics of mediation and teeth

Teeth whitening is a public act.

One's eyes do not directly see one's teeth.

In less mediated times, one would most often see one's teeth in the reflection of a mirror; it must be assumed, and quite reasonably, that this viewing took place in a private space.

The most effective advertisement for teeth-whitening may be that which takes place completely as a side effect of social networking and the disembodiment of experience entailed by this transubstantiation from the private to the public, from being-as-seeing to being-seen: the avatar.

The experience of the self as an image is no longer limited to private viewing and taken for granted in life outside of these mirrored spaces. The reflection is now public, "iconic," and, further, it is fixed.

Thus the comparative whiteness of teeth is no longer the stuff of subjective oblivion, and, in the hyper-realizing of the moment fixed by a flash, no longer a minor detail overwhelmed by a far greater manifold of minor details in dynamic and lived space.

If "reality" is in some meaningful and even empirical way able to be understood as a product of mediation, is there a qualifiable difference in the aspect of reality between whitening one's teeth with bleach versus whitening one's teeth with photoshop?

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