Sunday, August 7, 2011

Barbed Wire

photo by amy

 Reading flowerville's blog yesterday (see link under "sites to see"), I came across a striking photo of barbed wire (click on her interview about photography and then on her flickr site) that she had titled Johnny Hoogerland.

posted by spencer

The reference to the Tour de France disaster caused by the driver of a radio/tv car, a reference that gave context to a bucolic photo of a tangled splice of barbed wire against the long thin and sometimes twisted and thorny forms of natural plants, reminded me of some other photos of barbed wire posted by students in my interdisciplinary class on barbed wire. [see more of them here:]

Amy's photo of a horse's leg up against a fence highlights the dangerous nature of this steel fence, as does the Aerosmith album. Steel and thorny wire vs. animal flesh. No contest, as Johnny Hoogerland experienced.

Hoogerland crash in 2011 Tour de France (and he kept riding)

Additionally, barbed wire is used as a sign, a marker of meaning. The contrast between the meanings of the tattoo on Pamela Anderson's arm (she's tough, dangerous, desirable) and the tattoo on the Russian prisoner's forehead (he's confined for life) makes this point starkly.

spencer found this photo of Pam Anderson
russian prison tattoo: life sentence; diego found this


* said...

it's like creating a visual cultural dictionary of barbed wire....

Scott Abbott said...

a visual cultural dictionary. that's a nice way to look at it. alan krell did something like that with his book on the cultural history of barbed wire. although my mind goes all over the place, we're hoping to keep our focus on 1) the advertising history of the wire in the late 19th century and 2) how it shows up in literature.

if you run across barbed wire in anything you read, i'd love to get the reference.

* said...

it's a bit also an aby warburg sort of thing which is always a plus...
ok whenever i come across some barbed wire i let you know...