Sunday, 17 January 2010

So Truly Real

Creepy doesn't touch the sides when it comes to these dolls. The manufacturers hawk them on the promise of 'An astounding new level of realism in a So Truly Real baby':

The slightly mottled, translucent look of a newborn's skin is achieved through skillful hand-painting. Hand-applied hair, whispy eyelashes, and tiny, handpainted fingernails and toenails complete the illusion of life.

One of the most eerie things about the dolls is that they come with their own hospital bracelet. I've still got mine somewhere, a tiny authenticating memento. An object which stands in for a whole period of time I will never remember, does it prove I'm real? What's the appeal of these dolls, their novelty? Do lonely women buy them as a hobby? A hobby which gets out of hand as they hope to catch a glimpse of their baby in their peripheral vision, where they can pretend for a moment that Cherish is quietly breathing away, warm and safe in the haven that's been created. The makers also supply 'Little Umi' first baby Orangutan in the L'il Bit of Lovin Collection. This one perhaps for those who don't want to invest in the fad of adopting alive Capuchin monkeys well fleshed out in the documentary My Monkey Baby (2009 dir Lynne Alleyway). In this series it appears that the monkey stands in for the child. God help anyone who refers to the monkey as a monkey. One couple is mortally offended when a cafe owner refuses to seat and serve them. This kind of reaction serves as a punctum to the illusion they have created. Little girl monkeys are dressed up and make-up and nail varnish is applied and become little girls who will never grow up and go to the prom. Or for that matter who will never come home pregnant, with a drug habit or with an unsuitable boyfriend in tow. The baby monkey encapsulates the fantasy of childhood. So there is a sadness and a safety in the owners' desire for these creatures. Here the monkey is at once a reminder of the uncontrolable and at the same time the picture of safety and buttoned down desire. This is a bizarre process of removal where monkey doll stands in for monkey real live pet/doll standing in for real live human. Our fantasies here are a sprawl.

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