“The reflective onlooker, meeting the laughing placard of a toothpaste beauty, discerns in her flashlight grin the grimace of torture.”---Adorno
For this project I wanted to superimpose two seemingly disparate types of ads---that of teeth whitening and anti-depression medication. While the teeth whitening ads show people (mainly women) smiling, laughing, and appearing generally happy, the anti-depression medication ads depict more gloomy or morose characters. The superimposition of the ads perhaps give one the sense of the bombardment of ads seen on television, many of which seem to illuminate Baudrillard’s ideas on repetition, simulacra and copies without originals. In a sense, we know what is going to happen in the ad before we even see it. This superimposition also aims to create a sort of uneasy juxtaposition that borders on the uncanny, as the laughing smiles seem to take on a more false, dark note. Essentially, both types of ads are trying to sell their product, but go about it in a different way. Perhaps the viewer wants to identify with the happy, laughing person while at the same time identifying with the gloomier person. Perhaps the ads intend for us to identify with both sorts of characters. In the end, both of these characters are seemingly happy, but it appears to be a sort of contrived, pre-packaged happiness. More broadly, both types of ads touch on a lack that the viewer cannot get at.