Artist Amber Hawk Swanson commissioned the production of a life-like sex doll, a RealDoll, made of a posable PVC skeleton and silicone flesh, in her exact likeness. Her doll, Amber Doll, began as a Styrofoam print-out of a digital scan of her head. Her face was then custom-sculpted and later combined with the doll manufacturer’s existing, “Body #8” female doll mold. After completing, “The Making-Of Amber Doll” and “Las Vegas Wedding Ceremony” (both 2007), Amber Doll and Swanson went on to disrupt wedding receptions, roller-skating rinks, football tailgating parties, theme parks, and adult industry conventions. In the resulting series, “To Have, To Hold, and To Violate: Amber and Doll,” ideas surrounding agency and objectification are questioned, as are ideas about the success or failure of negotiating power through one’s own participation in a cultural narrative that declares women as objects. Swanson’s work with Amber Doll, herself a literal object, deals with such themes through an oftentimes-complicated feminist lens.
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