The title of this body of work comes from a 1938 book, As Other’s See You: A History of Plastic Surgery, written by my great-grandfather. Charting his practice during the infancy of cosmetic surgery, this book was intended to promote the new field to the general public and describes his experimental procedures. He states, "Nature when imperfect is often very ugly and repellent. A thing cannot be beautiful and ugly." I focus on the inherent contradictions in his work: the necessity of precision versus the risk of invention, the power to heal versus the fostering of insecurity.
In 1923 Dr. Schireson performed a nose job on Ziegfield Follie’s star Fanny Brice in a hotel room in New York City. My stop-motion animation “Fanny Brice Erased” is based on their interaction and the media activity that surrounded the surgery. Time-based media allows me to capture the life of a single charcoal drawing on paper, and each one minute film consists of approximately 800 changes that occur to the drawing. Through animation I record forms being built, deconstructed, or reconstructed. In the end, the image is completely erased and I am left with a blank sheet of paper. The erasure of the drawing and of the figure speaks to the masking of identity and the violence of cosmetic surgery. No drawing on the paper survives this process; only the digital history is left.