Smooth Operator consists of a montage of archival footage culled from television advertisements for wrinkle creams and moisturizers. Visually cryptic when divorced from their commercial contexts—inscrutable on their own terms—in situ these animations are intended to depict the promised action of a given skincare product on the surface of the skin. By presenting this imagery in aggregate and scoring it with “Smooth Operator” by Sade, Lisa Bell Weisdorf performs a simple détournment, denuding these purely spectacular representations of any claims to scientificity. The pretense that they provide any meaningful information can be abandoned, and they may be experienced as the shamelessly seductive conduits of visceral affect that they are.
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