Olivia Callender
Paulina as Self

6. Interview #6:
Name: Paulina Singer
Sex: Female Age: 20
Place of birth: New York City
Father: African American
Mother: Ukrainian
Personal Racial Identification: Mixed girl, or more technically.. ukrainian and black

Explanation of Characters
"I thought it would be unrealistic to have my real face showing during the shoots where we were trying to represent my African American side and Ukrainian side because those are only separate parts of me, not the whole person that I am. So I thought using masks would create a definite representation of the “pieces” that made me. Then for the self portrait I knew it was a representation of all of me so it was only right for my real face to be showing. I believe that my career path defines a lot of who I am, only because it’s not something I can achieve without putting my all into it, and it’s been my dream since I was a little girl. This is why I wanted my self portrait to portray me as a “movie star.”
I feel like the art of ballet is more classically deemed something that the Russians take the most seriously. It’s a stereotype I’ve grown up with, so I thought pictures in my pointe shoes would represent that side of me accurately. I chose the hip hop pictures for my African American side because hip hop comes from African dance and since it’s one of the things I love to do, it made sense. "

The Bi&Multi project is a two part sociological study on race and race identity and the American media's influence on such constructs. I am interested in gathering the opinions of Biracials and Multiracials because of the historical lack of racial recognition of people of multiple races. I believe their insight to these issues may shed light on current race and media trends and the current process of racial identity in America. Informal interviews are conducted and recorded by video. Photographs are created in response to how subjects view their mono-races depicted in main stream American media. Location, theme, and styling are controlled completely by subjects.

Current Project. Applicants welcome. Please contact for more information.
Excerpt from Thesis
"Lacan’s mirror stage implies that our first notion of self-identity goes hand in hand with the action of recognizing ourselves in our reflection. That it is the external image and not an internal process that creates the connection between body, mind, and soul. While psychologist remind us that people born blind do indeed have a self-identity, they may use other senses (like hearing) to conceptualize that identity. But the implications of the affect of the visual is an important one to note. Its influence, if not paramount for all of man, is a force upon the individual that should not be ignored.
In the world of today, and especially in America, the self-reflexive "culture of I" is (many times) what it once was, and yet the pull of conformity is still propagated by the visual. We, as a nation, are all intrinsically tied to the culture of mass-media. If the visual is in fact a stepping stone to self-identity and self awareness as previously discussed, the implications of a culture and country obsessed with media in all its visual forms are wide reaching, and possibly damaging to the progress of self awareness based in the individual and not the visual external. When paired with the sociopolitical issue of race and race identification in America the ‘visual external’ rules. You are what you appear to be under the strict categories that have been designed by the dominant order.
Biracial and multiracial people in America are therefore placed in a position where their physical attributes are often called into question and, in relation, their self-identity. Whether they appear to be of one race or multiple (races) is often up to the scrutiny of many, and the visual perception of others calls their self identity into question,both in society as well as on a personal level. It is on this personal level that the biracial and multiracial person begins to question not only themselves, but the society that prefers them as categorizable. In my own life as a biracial woman the question of why I must conform to the vision of others, who are often not in agreement, (sometimes implying I should pass as ‘white’, others to pretend I am Hispanic, and in some cases to be placed among the ‘black’ race because of the traditional one drop rule) and yet always be forced to assume or ask for a monoracial identity. My intent in this study is to answer the question of monoracial assumption. Why in America, with its history of ‘interracial’ sexual relationships (though it has always been taboo), does the possibility of a biracial or multiracial race identity rarely, or as an afterthought enter into the mind of someone attempting to categorize a person of unidentifiable race? Is there a correlation between the culture of media images and race relations and race identity in America? Most importantly does the lack of biracial and multiracial representation in media and the popular race symbols of American society put them in a pivotal position to comment on media’s influence on social concepts of race and race relations? "
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