The art of dating has only recently entered the world of art, where, in the words of Bill Jeffries, curator of Simon Fraser University Gallery, it constitutes “a sufficiently new phenomenon that a body of theoretical discourse has yet to develop around it.” Dating itself, he goes on to say, now has its theorists, one of whom, Natalie Flynn, claims to have traced the concept of dating as we know it to about 1910. Before then, courtship rituals were part of chaperoned forms of social mixing such as church outings, picnics, sleigh rides, hay rides and community dances.
The mythological story of the dating couple (or “dyad” in the jargon of theory) is the subject of Susan Bozic’s The Dating Portfolio, a work of staged photography that took two years to complete. The “man” in the photographs is a mannequin named Carl, and the woman is the artist herself, wearing a wig. “Anything becomes possible when creating staged images,” she says. “The moment I put on the wig I get straight into character and became Carl’s girlfriend.”
The complete series of The Dating Portfolio has been exhibited widely. It opened this year at the Arbetets Museum in Norrköping, Sweden. The Dating Portfolio consists of fifteen images. An exhibition catalogue was published jointly in 2008 by Simon Fraser University Gallery, Rodman Hall Arts Centre at Brock University and Southern Alberta Art Gallery. It is available at ABCartbookscanada.com. Susan Bozic studied photography and film at Concordia University in Montreal and lives in Vancouver. Several samples from her portfolios can be viewed at susanbozic.com.
Click here to read "The Historial Evolution of Dating in America" by Natalie Flynn at oberlin.edu.