Barbie Exhibition(ism)

Now, this is one of the more bizarre art installations you will find in staid, conservative Victoria. This tree is in someone’s front yard, and as you can see, it is hung with Barbies and their kin. I see this tree during my daily commute and have been meaning to photograph it for a while. I find it fascinating. Creepy. And remarkably durable. And, I don’t understand it. Perhaps that is my own failing. However, there is quite a lot to like about it. It’s outrageous; a good use for Barbies; it exposes something pretty essential about the purpose of these kinds of toys; it makes you stop; look; think; wonder; and its a fantastic blog subject (I suspect you are feeling creeped out, but wishing you had one to photograph as well). I wish I lived a bit closer so I could catch these dolls in different light – I suspect some really interesting photos could be taken here at the right time.

If you care to go see it for yourself, and you live near Victoria, it is located on May Street across from its intersection with Cambridge Street in Fairfield, see the map here. Unfortunately, the google street view is when the tree is fully in leaf, and before the house was painted, and does not show any of this. That view does make me wonder – are these hanging in the summer hidden in the leafed tree? The display seems to change from time to time. It is very carefully arranged when one starts looking closely. This is not just casual Barbie abuse, contrary to first impressions. On the ground beneath the tree or nearby are other dolls and things of interest.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to launch the gallery view and esc to leave it. I apologise for so many images, but really, what a choice to cut even one of them out.

.

Canon EOS 5Dmkii, Canon 50/1.4 lense, ISO100, all images f1.4, ranging between 1/50th and 1/3,200th.

The wooden Hittys that I share a house with strongly disapprove of this shameless display, for a variety of good reasons, many of them of the modest varieties. They say, with exasperation, that Barbies can be real air-heads, and they are not surprised to see them hanging around being decorative and not contributing in a substantive way.

.

.

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Barbie Exhibition(ism)

  1. I know the “Barbie” tree well. It is an amazing artistic creation and when I stop and ponder on all of the different “components,” I can’t help but chuckle. The creator of this tree has personally made it clear to me (and others) that the meaning of it all is whatever I would like it to mean. I am sure that she gets much delight from creating these fascinating reflections of our culture and would be glad to know that her art is appreciated by at least a few folks who can see beyond the absurdity and enjoy the humor in it all.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Remington Standard Posted | burnt embers

  3. No one came out while you were photographing? Maybe no one was home, or they are just used to attracting attention. Definitely art. Of the Toy Story type. Interesting, but very different than most of your posts!

    Like

  4. Tutu Ken is my favorite, both of him. 🙂
    I also like the spiders. Barbie is too happy flying from branch to branch. I think she’s on drugs.

    If you want to see art in the residential environment, you Canadians need to come to Detroit and see how garish we Americans can get at The Heidelberg Project. It will change your life and you’ll appreciate the understated Barbie Tree!

    http://www.agilitynut.com/h/heidelberg.html

    Like

    • Barbie could well be on drugs. Probably “BC bud”. That Heidelberg Project is definitely overstated. Reminds of a car that used to drive around Victoria – it was decorated by Canadian poet Susan Musgrave who was the driver. Totally covered in small little figures. And of course, there is a picture of it here.

      Like

    • Hi Toad – strange it is, can’t agree with you more. And thanks for your comment 🙂
      If you do go to look at it, make sure you have a bit of time. I noticed lots of stuff processing the photos (and taking them) that I have never noticed when walking by and stopping briefly to look.

      Like

    • Hi Tisha, thanks for letting me know of the reblogging. Looks like galleries don’t reblog, just the first image and text, so your viewers will need to come to my blog to see the rest, which is a good thing.

      Like

  5. I reckon this is the same person who lived in cobble Hill in the trailerpark called Fourways on the corner of Koksilah road and Cowichan Bay Road.This is years ago that in front of one of the trailers there was this ongoing display exactly like yours on the ground and in bushes, some of it a bit risque. I oughta have taken a few photos at the time.

    Like

    • Interesting. I wonder if we will ever know? Possibly, since this post is getting wider distribution than usual (tons of looks from facebook where someone linked it) so it might get back to the person that is doing this and maybe they will come by and comment. Which would be awesome.

      Like

  6. I have to agree with you – fascinating and creepy at the same time. I expect your photos are far more artistic than the installation itself. There is a house not far from us where the owners have done wonders with discarded bowling balls. It’s not my kind of thing but someone loves it. I really like these photos, though.

    Like

    • Thanks Ken – this installation is one that you need to look closely at which is where the photos work so well. Just a quick glance (which I bet is all that most people give it) won’t let you see the whimsy and care that has gone into it. I did feel strange standing there taking pictures though. What did passers-by think?

      Like

  7. What a fantastic photo subject. Some of the shots are very surreal, and the artist who created this “Flying Barbie Circus Review” would be blown away if they saw them I’m sure.
    I think the Hittys should lighten up a bit and perhaps get out and see some real entertainment once in a while. They are too traditional and set in there ways. Too old school, if you will.
    I agree with some of the other comments re the potted baby, too creepy, but there is some real beauty in the flying Barbies. What’s up with Ken though??
    Great work with these shots, once again and thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Hi David – thanks so much.
      The Hittys go to the Opera and that should prepare them for anything, in the big person entertainment world. But, when little persons, made of plastic (not wood, tsk) put themselves on display like pop/porn stars or 13 year old girls, the Hittys say they will keep their traditional old fashioned ways, thank you very much.
      Your comment about Ken had me wondering for a minute, since it comes right next to Ken (Oneowner)’s comment. Then I figured it out – Barbie’s friend. Yes, what is up with him. He has lost his head, and is otherwise in a bad way.

      Like

  8. Yes, creepy, but endlessly fascinating! They’re beautiful in a strange way, and you took beautiful photos (as usual).

    At least, they’re not like the human centipede dolls I’ve seen on the Internet! 😛 I dare you to Google it!

    Like

    • Well TBS, I am not sure whether to thank you or curse you. Thanks for the compliments, I guess. Curses for the centipede dolls. Those are, well, awful. Especially the image I came across of a woman mimicking them with a chain of inflatable sex toy dolls tied on behind her crawling self. Sheesh.

      Viewers – I can’t recommend you google this. It will put all thought of these nice Barbies (for that is what they have just become to me) out of your minds.

      TBS – I still love you guys, but I am going to have a strange day at work, with those images in my head. 🙂

      Like

      • Waaah, sorry ehpem! Honestly, I didn’t see the “woman mimicking them with a chain of inflatable sex toy dolls tied on behind her crawling self.” All I saw were some creepy yet hilarious dolls, which I really got a kick out of, after I got past the “WTF is this” moment.

        Have a great day ahead! And here’s a cute pic of a kitten and chick to rinse your brain of any strange images!

        Like

      • It was not all that bad – she was clothed unlike many of the dolls you were showing me. I made the mistake of searching in images function. Glad I had safe search set to moderate though 🙂 I am glad to know of those dolls, they are very very strange things. And thanks for the cute kitten and chick photo, its adorable and innocent and warm-fuzzy feeling. Just what I needed 😉

        Like

  9. That. was. awesome! The baby doll in the flower pot one was the creepiest. Those eyes that open and shut always gave me shivers, even as a kid.

    Actually, this “installation” sort of reminds me of another Barbie bit of art a friend of mine made. He decided his Christmas tree would have a theme, and that theme was tentacle monster barbie hentai. Hi-larious, but very adult oriented humor, for sure. I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff, and I probably don’t want to know, lol.

    Like

    • That flower pot is creepy. More so when the vegetation is in full foliage around the doll. Adult humour for sure. I think that might be the one downside of this set up is that there could be a few Barbie-loving little kids that come by here and find it very disturbing, though with a bit of good parenting and a closer look, they might find it a lot of fun (and go home and hang their own Barbies).

      Like

  10. Reminds me of the evil neighbour from toy-story who pull his toy apart, mix the parts up and put them together again as a mix of different sorts. I think the tree looks a bit too crowded, but love the photos where you’ve captured only a few of the dolls. But it’s like you said, makes you stop and think. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

    • I rather like that there are so many of them and that most of the images have limbs sticking into them….
      I met a girl last fall who had a doll – she had made it from a leg of a barbie, from which she had removed it. She marked a face on the upper thight/hip area with a felt marker pen, and wrapped the middle in a cloth “dress”, tied on with string, and made it hop around. It was very clever and effective as a doll. I only wish I had a picture of that.

      Like

  11. Yes, creepy, and rather sinister. It made me think of the “larder” of a European bird, the shrike. “Shrikes are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments, and serves as a cache so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time.” (Wikipedia)

    Like

    • What an interesting bird – and great comparison. I wonder what the person that lives in this house would think of that – if they might be saying – “rats, they’re onto us”?

      Like

  12. Hi, my Bungendore Bears are quite eerie too and what’s even stranger is that I paint with a group of friends that I call the Picknick Painters and one of them takes along flouro painted Barbies and she sets them up in positions-usually picknicking, wherever we paint. I guess we artists are a strange lot but it makes for an interesting world. What a cute house.Thanks for linking us all together Katharine. All we need know is a Barbie in a photo booth (hopefully dressed in a bear suit. Cheers Sue

    Like

    • Hi paintlaterm – thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I am glad that Katherine put us in touch – your Bears are definitely within this theme. I expect that Katherine will be able to find a photobooth picture with a girl (well, it has to be doesn’t it?) holding a Barbie. I have artists in the family, including a sister, and you all definitely make the world more interesting.

      Like

  13. Wow, this is amazing! I have just read a blog post of an Australian blogger who has found a whole stretch of countryside where teddy bears have been hung from many trees. I will see if I can find the link. Both very eerie ideas!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: