The Many Faces of Alia Raza

Ana Finel Honigman in Interview:

Many publications parse the minutiae of celebrities' beauty regimes. But few of those forums actively engage with the potential psychological or sociological significance of beauty rituals for the famous faces, and the fans who follow them. New York- and Los Angeles-based video artist Alia Raza is addressing that arena. Raza has developed a video project that deconstructs the relationships between outward beauty, internal awareness of ones' own body and the peculiar tensions among people whose physical appearance is intimately linked with their professional or creative standing.

For “The Fragile White Blossoms Emit A Hypnotic Cascade Of Tropical Perfume Whose Sweet Heady Odor Leaves Its Victim Intoxicated” Raza presents ten silent videos in which Chloe Sevigny, Kim Gordon, Devendra Banhart, Patrik Ervell and figures in Lower East Side fashion engage distinctive beauty rituals, some of which Raza designs and some which exaggerate their own regimes, without interruption for twenty-eight minutes. A portion of the series will be presented at Paris's Palais de Tokyo, as part of Diane Pernet's A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival.

Here we discuss distinctions between art and fashion, and between personal maintenance and philosophical self-consciousness:

ANA FINEL HONIGMAN: Did this project begin with your own beauty rituals?


ALIA RAZA: It really began with wanting to portray anxiety and self-consciousness. I don't mean self-conscious like being shy, I mean literal consciousness of our physical being, and the fact that we have to present ourselves to others. Some people go into the world with a lack of self-consciousness while others always feel uncomfortable in their own skin. A lot of times physical beauty is looked to as a cure for this discomfort. And there's an entire culture and several industries that support that notion, not to mention biology, society, and who knows what else. People think of beauty or the search for it as frivolous or vain. I definitely don't. I find it more disturbing, and that's what the project is about.

More here.