For this week’s mission itinerary, I decided to complete the Visual Assignment “Pop Star Out of Place” (http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/pop-star-out-of-place/). In creating my concept, I attempted to juxtapose a pop star with a spy-themed setting to match our semester’s missions, and I thought a James Bond backdrop was a natural fit for this goal. However, I had some issues conceptualizing how to make any particular pop star stand out from the backdrop, as most could be cast as an atypical “Bond girl” due to their visual appearance. Instead of choosing an alternative-pop star like Lorde or Adele to be placed alongside Bond on one of his missions, I instead decided to try matching Taylor Swift with the tech team led by Q in the recent Bond films. I found this juxtaposition to work wonderfully, and calls to mind the wildly humorous InfoSec Expert Taylor Swift twitter account “SwiftOnSecurity” (shown below).
— YOUR AD HERE $43K/DY (@SwiftOnSecurity) January 8, 2017
With a fleshed-out concept in mind, I used a photo of Q from the Bond films and searched for a business-professional photo of Taylor Swift which I could attempt to overlay onto the original photo. After finding an image of Taylor Swift which matched the “hipster-tech” styling of Q in an appropriate pose, I simply resized the photo to maintain pixilation quality, then I used MS Paint’s ‘transparent selection’ option to trace the outline of Taylor Swift before re-positioning it on the Bond film image. The assignment was of intermediate difficulty in my opinion, as creating an interesting concept and selecting appropriate photos took more time searching online than I had anticipated. The resulting image I created below matches a pop star with a spy-genre scene while creating contextual juxtaposition.
I find the subtle humor in a pop star with no known interest in cyber-security being portrayed as an analyst working through malware threats in a Bond film to be a successful attempt at this assignment. Having a pop star pasted into a similar situation with a less professional stage costume would indirectly disrespect female pop stars by redirecting the humor of the assignment towards potential intellectual shortcomings of a female in revealing clothing. Instead, by placing a pop star in a secret-agent scene in appropriate attire, the humor is refocused on the disparity between the situation presented and the public persona and personality displayed by a pop star like Taylor Swift. The contrast created is, in my opinion, both strikingly humorous and respectful of Taylor Swift as an intelligent, capable human being.