Her Big Idea: Paula Crown

Even after all these years, self-portraits can be transformative.
Paula Crown LEAD1.jpg

Paula Crown with her exhibit, Inside Out: A Contemporary Self-Portrait. (The Aspen Institute)

Artist Paula Crown wore a designer dress featuring the life-size, naked torso of an ancient Greek statue to present at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Friday. "One great thing about being an artist is that I can wear a dress like this," she joked.

But her interactive self-portrait, shown above, indicates that Crown is much more than a sassy fashionista. "The genre of the self-portrait is very well-known to all of you," she explained. "The earliest-known reaches back to 2350 B.C. Often artists looked to themselves, the subject that was readily available to them. And of course, objective portraits don't exist; the artists' perception always colors what they're presenting, and the viewer's perception always colors their interpretation. Each time a new medium emerges, we think we can claim some sort of objective improvement about the representation. But like the camera and the computer, we know that they have proved to be unreliable and manipulated in many ways. With 3-D imaging technology and the use of my brain MRI scans, I'm trying to shift perception and create self-portrait from a different angle, literally from the inside out."

Presented by

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In