A while back in the office, we were working on a slide to illustrate one of our biomedical device concepts and our genius artist-in-residence came up with this wonderful drawing that featured the head of the “Average Woman” based on a composite of some thirty or so actual faces. I like to refer to this as the “Jederfrau.” As a result I was delighted this morning to come upon an article about the work of 3D artist Nickolay Lamm featuring computer simulations of the average nineteen year old man in the United States, Holland, France, and Japan that are based on CDC published figures for weight, height, and body Mass index (BMI). The average American man has a BMI of 28.6; the average Japanese man has a BMI of 23.7; the average man from the Netherlands has a BMI of 25.2; and the average French man has a BMI of 25.5. So the message is obvious “too many cookies, Corduroy,” and clearly fits in well with the recent Connecticut College study showing that Oreo cookies can be as addictive as cocaine to rats.
Lamm recently featured similar 3D renderings of the average nineteen year old American teenage girls as Barbie. The story there is pretty much the same. Poor Barbie keeps getting slammed for creating unrealistic body image for teenage girls.
A missing point in all of this is our growing ability to create realistic looking 3D avatars. Indeed, until the advent of otherworld video games and the 2009 James Cameron movie “Avatar” the word avatar referred to the descent to the Earth of incarnations of the deity, predominately in Hinduism. This fits in well with Joseph Campbell’s view of “Creative Mythology.” Photography, movies, television, and video games represent creations of fictional realities, and our massive computing power is opening up whole new vistas of creation.