Artist Nina Katchadourian Creates Flemish Style Self-Portraits in Airplane Lavatory

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The work of artist Nina Katchadourian is highly accessible. So much so that it’s likely her fault if the line for the bathroom on your next flight stretches all the way from tail to the cockpit. Such is the power of Lavatory Self-portraits in the Flemish Style, the best known segment of her ongoing Seat Assignment project. How can passengers pass up the opportunity to recreate Katchadourian’s widely disseminated images, knowing that the originals were shot in the mirror on an iPhone, using props like disposable seat covers and an inflatable neck pillow?

more flemish

There goes the Mile High Club.

Shy and/or civic-minded types who don’t relish the implications of tying up the johnny at high altitudes should have a go at restaging the other aspects to Katchadourian’s inflight work, on view in the video below.

(Hint: book a window seat and exercise restraint when the fight attendant hands you your complimentary bag of mini pretzels.)

Honestly, much of what you’ll see, from the unnervingly named Disasters to the genius of Sweater Gorillas, can be accomplished without leaving the ground. Though it may prove more creatively rewarding to delay until the only palatable alternative is an unregulated amount of reality TV screening on the seat back ahead of you.

Ayun Halliday has an inflight Peanut for you. Follow her @AyunHalliday



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  1. tara june winch says . . . | February 1, 2013 / 11:02 am

    I just wasted 12 minutes of my life – I really thought this was amateur and not at all creative. All else from open culture is great, usually.

  2. Dan says . . . | February 1, 2013 / 7:16 pm

    I agree Tara.

  3. Deidre Flavin says . . . | February 1, 2013 / 8:06 pm

    Oh, please Tara! Art being amateur… what does it take to think, to create and/or to be critical about another person’s work? Wasting 12 minutes of your life, really? A sitcom runs a full 1/2 hour and I am sure though you sound really high falutin’ you have watched a few of those in your life. I think that this work is really fresh and funny and intentionally off the cuff and new brow. If you actually spent a few minutes getting your ire up enough to write your critical blurb to these works, then you, my friend, have not wasted a single minute. Oh, btw, lighten up a little.

  4. Karl says . . . | February 1, 2013 / 10:33 pm

    I think you need to be an experienced artist to be able to ‘seize the moment’ like Ms. Khatchadourian did here… I take these pieces of hers as an ode to creativity; to that obsession to always wanting to create: even when you are far away removed from your studio, your favorite camera, and even your usual surroundings. But you are a human, you still make observations, and so you create no matter where you are! Those landscapes are awesome and the self portraits represent the natural progression of a project like this one: high dutch art :)

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