Danika Whitcher

The significance of power on the female model, and the commodity, is dominant throughout my practice, where I hope to reflect on the relations they hold with the consumerist society that surrounds it. Karl Marx defines a commodity as: ‘An object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants for some sort or another’. Here I noticed how our materialistic instincts leave us caring more about ‘things’ than another person.  Despite taking on different disciplines in my practice, I hope my work challenges the hierarchy that exists from fashion companies selling us this idea and experience. I also wish to provide a link between both the temporality and impracticality of the modern commodity alongside the manipulation of unique human identity and aesthetics.


‘To Have and To Hold’

Self Portrait Series


Danika Whitcher

In this series of 3 ‘self-portraits’, I wish to embody the notions of contemporary vanitas, this still life artwork displays symbolic objects in hopes that the viewer will be reminded of the worthlessness of both goods and pleasure. With myself as the artist, the model, and the display in this series of work, I want to show the connection of the body with the commercialism on aesthetics of a product over its practicality.  The title, ‘To Have and To Hold’ takes from traditional marriage vows, proposing ideas of ‘having’ something and keeping it close, and to not treat it as a possession that will eventually be filed away. However, “An object-oriented identity means that one is no longer the sum of their actions but the sum of their objects”. Twisting the title in this sense, with the application of the paper handbag, the work re-evaluates the practicality of commoditised goods and displays them as nothing but a visual accessory, where one must become unattached to the object.


‘The Sky Has No Surface’ allows this work to play into the idea of what we miss when we first glance at anything, addressing specifically the fact that magazines images are not what we first perceive them to be. My submission to this show questions how the images we see in advertisements allure us to a false sense of luxury and lifestyle. What we see is a designer handbag but what we get is an expensive price tag and a bag that doesn’t fit half of what we need it too. This argument is subjective though, and I guess this is where my work finds its place within this show, as some consumers would rather the identity of having, than the practicality the product could give them. Despite room to argue, I hope these magazine handbags against my own body show a modern relationship between our identities and the object, as well as how we are now so focused on the form of a product, rather than its function.