Narcissister is You is an ongoing community project/ investigation that takes the form of photographs and video installations and involves many different sisters (including male sisters) embodying the Narcissister character. Fundamental to this project is the idea that Narcissister can be anyone, she is universal, reflecting that on some level we are all one, that radical narcissism/ radical self-love can be found in our quotidian existence and that it is a concept worth cultivating. Participants are asked to document themselves and their friends wearing the Narcissister mask and doing anything that feels radically narcissistic or radically self-loving. The video installations are comprised primarily of these self-shot video clips which are edited together and set to original music by Narcissister and Earthmasters.
In 1992, Penal Law 245.01 was reversed, granting the women of New York the protected legal right to bare their breasts in public spaces.
This is not a universal freedom. Many cities in the US circumvent more liberal state laws to continue to persecute women for baring their breasts in public. Globally, women are often publicly derided or disciplined for this gesture - sometimes severely. These laws and the cultural consensus behind them are based on gender bias and a fear of, and desire to control, women's bodies.
How does a woman baring her breasts in public begin to challenge the deep-seated notion that female toplessness is different from male toplessness? The intention of this project is to investigate the conceptions that are embedded in the collective cultural psyche around female breasts which might support or prohibit a woman's freedom.
Inherent in any law preventing a woman to bare her breasts in public is the underlying message that women’s bodies are fundamentally shameful. Public ordinances can and should challenge narrow preconceptions and promote a fuller and more accepting perception of female bodies. Women have the right to be seen as more than sexualized objects; they should feel free to embody the full spectrum of their humanity.
Does the enforced covering of women's breasts reinforce a collective obsession with them, perpetuating sex-negativity and sex-related shame? What larger cultural shift could occur if women freely exercised their right to bare their breasts on their own terms, their sexuality fully embodied and belonging to them alone?
In many cases, prohibitive laws are the result of stereotypes grounded in bias and discrimination that have been unconsciously built into the social code. This project adopts the gesture of baring our breasts in public as one exercise of freedom in a larger humanist project. Women exercising their right to legally bare their breasts in the streets is a symbolic act of physical freedom intended to inspire others to exercise freedom in all forms.
original music: Evan Collier