Mind-Building – Catalogue of the Exhibition in the Pavilion of Finland at La Biennale Architettura 2018
Since the turn of the millennium in the year 2000, aesthetic plastic surgery has become a mass industry that uses the human body as raw material. Increased economic growth and acceptance have turned plastic surgery into an expansive industry. Through fashion, design, cosmetics and plastic surgery, more and more and younger people set out to make a body career and, become image-like, and imitate what we see in social media.
It is not the clothes that Vera von Toth designs, but the skin. ‘When I say that my daughter is a cosmetic surgeon, you think that she is a fashion designer and instantly want her to stich up new skin clothes for you’, says Vera von Toth’s mother.
Linda Rampell’s Vera von Toth – En skönhetskirurgs monolog tells the story of the aesthetic plastic surgeon Vera von Toth, who runs a clinic next to St. Jacob’s cemetery at Västra Trädgårdsgatan in Stockholm. Here, she offers us a different picture of the successes related to appearance promised by plastic surgery.
In her monologue, Vera von Toth formulates the poetry of the plastic surgeon and the prose of psychosis. Your body may be transformed into appearance profit. Who knows? Vera von Toth does not respond as she injects the needle in your skin and shapes your facial landscape. Vera von Toth contemplates the body, death and cosmetic interventions. ‘I wonder what you really look like when you lie beneath a sheet that the lungs no longer inflate into clouds.’
It is not the chair, but the buttocks that will sit on the chair that Vera von Toth designs. ‘Today, I held a pair of buttock implants in my hands, and now, when the stars are glowing, the post-op patient with that very same implants in her butt cheeks is lying on her stomach in her bed trying to sleep.” Day and night, Vera von Toth is haunted by her patients, their wishes and their bodies. ‘I could never have told a different story, because I do not tell stories. I listen to the voices of my patients and interpret their dreams. I myself never dream.’
Linda Rampell, PhD, is a design theorist and writer. She made her debut with the graphic novel ZOO (2000) and is the author of several prominent books. In her new fictional novel Vera von Tooth – En skönhetskirurgs monolog, Rampell gives voice to the aesthetic plastic surgeon Vera von Toth.