Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion with signs and symbols. In most languages, writing is a spoken language. Writing is not a language. Within a language system, writing relies on many of the same structures as speech, such as vocabulary and semantics, with the added dependency of a system of signs or symbols; the result of writing is called text, the recipient of text is called a reader. Motivations for writing include publication, correspondence, record keeping and diary. Writing has been instrumental in keeping history, maintaining culture, dissemination of knowledge through the media and the formation of legal systems; as human societies emerged, the development of writing was driven by pragmatic exigencies such as exchanging information, maintaining financial accounts, codifying laws and recording history. Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration in Mesopotamia outgrew human memory, writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form.
In both ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica, writing may have evolved through calendric and a political necessity for recording historical and environmental events. H. G. Wells argued that writing has the ability to "put agreements, commandments on record, it made the growth of states larger. It made a continuous historical consciousness possible; the command of the priest or king and his seal could go far beyond his sight and voice and could survive his death". The major writing systems—methods of inscription—broadly fall into five categories: logographic, alphabetic and ideographic. A sixth category, pictographic, is insufficient to represent language on its own, but forms the core of logographies. A logogram is a written character which represents a morpheme. A vast number of logograms are needed to write Chinese characters and Mayan, where a glyph may stand for a morpheme, a syllable, or both—. Many logograms have an ideographic component. For example, in Mayan, the glyph for "fin", pronounced "ka", was used to represent the syllable "ka" whenever the pronunciation of a logogram needed to be indicated, or when there was no logogram.
In Chinese, about 90% of characters are compounds of a semantic element called a radical with an existing character to indicate the pronunciation, called a phonetic. However, such phonetic elements complement the logographic elements, rather than vice versa; the main logographic system in use today is Chinese characters, used with some modification for the various languages or dialects of China and sometimes in Korean despite the fact that in South and North Korea, the phonetic Hangul system is used. A syllabary is a set of written symbols. A glyph in a syllabary represents a consonant followed by a vowel, or just a vowel alone, though in some scripts more complex syllables may have dedicated glyphs. Phonetically related syllables are not so indicated in the script. For instance, the syllable "ka" may look nothing like the syllable "ki", nor will syllables with the same vowels be similar. Syllabaries are best suited to languages with a simple syllable structure, such as Japanese. Other languages that use syllabic writing include the Linear B script for Mycenaean Greek.
Most logographic systems have a strong syllabic component. Ethiopic, though technically an abugida, has fused consonants and vowels together to the point where it is learned as if it were a syllabary. An alphabet is a set of symbols, each of which represents or represented a phoneme of the language. In a phonological alphabet, the phonemes and letters would correspond in two directions: a writer could predict the spelling of a word given its pronunciation, a speaker could predict the pronunciation of a word given its spelling; as languages evolve independently of their writing systems, writing systems have been borrowed for languages they were not designed for, the degree to which letters of an alphabet correspond to phonemes of a language varies from one language to another and within a single language. In most of the writing systems of the Middle East, it is only the consonants of a word that are written, although vowels may be indicated by the addition of various diacritical marks. Writing systems based on marking the consonant phonemes alone date back to the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt.
Such systems are called abjads, derived from the Arabic word for "alphabet". In most of the alphabets of India and Southeast Asia, vowels are indicated through diacritics or modification of the shape of the consonant; these are called abugidas. Some abugidas, such as Ethiopic and Cree, are learned by children as syllabaries, so are called "syllabics". However, unlike true syllabaries, there is not an independent glyph for each syllable. Sometimes the term "alphabet" is restricted to systems with separate letters for consonants and vowels, such as the Latin alphabet, although abugidas and abjads may be accepted as alphabets; because of this use, Greek is considered to be the first alphabet. A featural script notates the building blocks of the phonemes. For instance, all sounds pronounced. In the Latin alphabet, this is acciden
Rebecca Horn is a German visual artist, best known for her installation art, film directing, her body modifications such as Einhorn, a body-suit with a large horn projecting vertically from the headpiece. She directed the films Der Eintänzer, La ferdinanda: Sonate für eine Medici-Villa and Buster's Bedroom. Horn presently works in Paris and Berlin. Rebecca Horn was born on 24 March 1944 in Germany, she was taught to draw by her Romanian governess and became obsessed with drawing with expression because it was not as confining or labeling as oral language. Living in Germany after the end of World War II affected the liking she took to drawing. "We could not speak German. Germans were hated. We had to learn English. We were always traveling somewhere else, but I had a Romanian governess. I did not have to draw in French or English. I could just draw." Horn spent most of her late childhood in boarding schools and at nineteen rebelled against her parents' plan of studying economics and decided to instead study art.
In 1963 she attended. A year she had to pull out of art school because she had contracted severe lung poisoning. "In 1964 I was 20 years old and living in Barcelona, in one of those hotels where you rent rooms by the hour. I was working with glass fibre, without a mask, because nobody said it was dangerous, I got sick. For a year I was in a sanatorium. My parents died. I was isolated."After experiencing this isolation until she felt that her life was over before it had begun, she walked out of the hospital. The experience gave her a heightened sense of sensory awareness which she began to reflect upon in her early performances, she was still too ill, however, to work with fiberglass and polyester. She had to take masses of antibiotics and sleep long hours to have enough energy to operate normally, she could, work with softer materials, when in bed she drew with colored pencils, which are still her favorite drawing tools. She began to break out of her self-imposed isolation and began to create sculpture and strange extensions with balsa wood and cloth.
"I began to produce my first body-sculptures. I could sew lying in bed." Her goal was to quash her "loneliness by communicating through bodily forms."Horn lived in Hamburg until 1971, in London for a brief time, since 1973 has lived in Berlin. Horn is one of a generation of German artists, she practices body art, but works in different media, including performance art, installation art and film. She writes poetry. Sometimes her poetry is influenced by her work, on many occasions it has inspired her work; when Horn returned to the Hamburg academy she continued to make cocoon-like things. She worked with prosthetic bandages. In the late sixties she continued to use bodily extensions. In 1968 Horn produced her first body sculptures, in which she attached objects and instruments to the human body, taking as her theme the contact between a person and his or her environment. Einhorn is one of Horn's best known performance pieces: a long horn worn on her head, its title a pun on her name, she presented Einhorn at the 1972 Documenta.
Its subject is a woman, described by Horn as "very bourgeois", "21 years-old and ready to marry. She is spending her money on new bedroom furniture", she walks through a field and forest on a summer morning wearing only a white horn protruding directly from the front of the top of her head, held there by straps. These straps are identical to the ones in Frida Kahlo's painting Broken Column; the image, with wheat floating around the woman's hips, is mythic and modern. Pencil Mask is another body extension piece, made up of six straps running horizontally and three straps running vertically. Where the straps intersect a pencil has been attached; when moving her face back and forth on a near a wall the pencil marks that are made correspond directly with her movements. Finger Gloves is a performance piece and the main prop of that performance piece and was done in 1972, they are worn like gloves. By being able to see what she was touching and the way in which she was touching it, it felt as if her fingers were extended and in her mind the illusion was created that she was touching what the extensions were touching.
There is another piece that she did, similar to this one. It is part of her Berlin Exercises series done in 1974 called "Scratching Both Walls at Once". In this piece she made more finger extension gloves, but this time measured it so that they fit the selected space. If the chosen participant stood in the middle of the room, they could touch opposing walls simultaneously. Another piece that involves the illusion of feeling and one's hand is Feather Fingers.. A feather is attached to each finger with a metal ring; the hand becomes "as symmetrical as a bird's wing". When touching the opposite arm with these feather fingers one can feel the touch on the left arm and of the fingers on the right hand moving as if to touch the left arm but it is instead the feathers which make contact. Rebecca Horn describes the effect: "it is as if one hand had become disconnected from the other like two utterly unrelated beings. My sense of touch becomes so disrupted that the different behavior of each hand triggers contradictory sensations."
This piece focuses on
Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. Together with chimpanzees and orangutans, they are part of the family Hominidae. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect bipedal locomotion. Early hominins—particularly the australopithecines, whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to ancestral non-human apes—are less referred to as "human" than hominins of the genus Homo. Several of these hominins used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 315,000 years ago. Humans began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago, in several waves of migration, they ventured out of Africa and populated most of the world; the spread of the large and increasing population of humans has profoundly affected much of the biosphere and millions of species worldwide. Advantages that explain this evolutionary success include a larger brain with a well-developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable advanced abstract reasoning, problem solving and culture through social learning.
Humans use tools better than any other animal. Humans uniquely use such systems of symbolic communication as language and art to express themselves and exchange ideas, organize themselves into purposeful groups. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks to political states. Social interactions between humans have established an wide variety of values, social norms, rituals, which together undergird human society. Curiosity and the human desire to understand and influence the environment and to explain and manipulate phenomena have motivated humanity's development of science, mythology, religion and numerous other fields of knowledge. Though most of human existence has been sustained by hunting and gathering in band societies many human societies transitioned to sedentary agriculture some 10,000 years ago, domesticating plants and animals, thus enabling the growth of civilization; these human societies subsequently expanded, establishing various forms of government and culture around the world, unifying people within regions to form states and empires.
The rapid advancement of scientific and medical understanding in the 19th and 20th centuries permitted the development of fuel-driven technologies and increased lifespans, causing the human population to rise exponentially. The global human population was estimated to be near 7.7 billion in 2015. In common usage, the word "human" refers to the only extant species of the genus Homo—anatomically and behaviorally modern Homo sapiens. In scientific terms, the meanings of "hominid" and "hominin" have changed during the recent decades with advances in the discovery and study of the fossil ancestors of modern humans; the clear boundary between humans and apes has blurred, resulting in now acknowledging the hominids as encompassing multiple species, Homo and close relatives since the split from chimpanzees as the only hominins. There is a distinction between anatomically modern humans and Archaic Homo sapiens, the earliest fossil members of the species; the English adjective human is a Middle English loanword from Old French humain from Latin hūmānus, the adjective form of homō "man."
The word's use as a noun dates to the 16th century. The native English term man can refer to the species as well as to human males, or individuals of either sex; the species binomial "Homo sapiens" was coined by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae. The generic name "Homo" is a learned 18th-century derivation from Latin homō "man," "earthly being"; the species-name "sapiens" means "wise" or "sapient". Note that the Latin word homo refers to humans of either gender, that "sapiens" is the singular form; the genus Homo evolved and diverged from other hominins in Africa, after the human clade split from the chimpanzee lineage of the hominids branch of the primates. Modern humans, defined as the species Homo sapiens or to the single extant subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, proceeded to colonize all the continents and larger islands, arriving in Eurasia 125,000–60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, remote islands such as Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand between the years 300 and 1280.
The closest living relatives of humans are gorillas. With the sequencing of the human and chimpanzee genomes, current estimates of similarity between human and chimpanzee DNA sequences range between 95% and 99%. By using the technique called a molecular clock which estimates the time required for the number of divergent mutations to accumulate between two lineages, the approximate date for the split between lineages can be calculated; the gibbons and orangutans were the first groups to split from the line leading to the h
Body Worlds is a traveling exposition of dissected human bodies and other anatomical structures of the body that have been preserved through the process of plastination. Gunther von Hagens developed the preservation process which "unite subtle anatomy and modern polymer chemistry", in the late 1970s. A series of Body Worlds anatomical exhibitions has toured many countries worldwide, sometimes raising controversies about the sourcing and display of actual human corpses and body parts. Von Hagens maintains that all human specimens were obtained with full knowledge and consent of the donors before they died, his organization keeps extensive documentation of this permission. Von Hagens emphasizes both educational and artistic aspects of his complex and innovative dissections, offers online teaching guides for educators, he tries to distinguish his efforts from those of competitors who may have been less thorough in obtaining advance permission from their specimen sources. The exhibit states that its purpose and mission is the education of laymen about the human body, leading to better health awareness.
All the human plastinates are from people who donated their bodies for plastination via a body donation program. Each Body Worlds exhibition contains 25 full-body plastinates with expanded or selective organs shown in positions that enhance the role of certain systems. To produce specimens for Body Worlds, von Hagens employs 340 people at five laboratories in three countries, China and Kyrgyzstan; each laboratory is categorized with the China laboratory focusing on animal specimens. One of the most difficult specimens to create was the giraffe that appears in Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life; the specimen took three years to complete -- ten times longer. Ten people are required to move the giraffe, because its final weight is equal to the original animal. Many of the whole-body specimens are dissected in the Écorché style of 17th and 18th century European tradition, while others are sliced in various anatomical planes to permit understanding of anatomical structure. In addition, more than 200 specimens of real human organs and organ systems are separately displayed in glass cases, some showing various medical conditions.
Some of the whole-body specimens, such as the "Tai Chi Man", demonstrate interventions, include prosthetics such as artificial hip joints or heart valves. Featured is a liver with cirrhosis, the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker are placed for side by side comparison. A prenatal display may feature some with congenital disorders. Body Worlds exhibitions have received more than 37 million visitors, making them the world's most popular touring attraction. Body Worlds was first presented in Tokyo in 1995, related exhibitions have since been hosted by more than 50 museums and venues in North America and Asia. Body Worlds 2 & The Brain – Our Three Pound Gem opened in 2005 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles; as of September 2010 it was showing at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver. Several Body Worlds exhibits were featured in the 2006 film Casino Royale. Among the plastinates seen were the Poker Playing Trio and Rearing Horse and Rider. Body Worlds 3 & The Story of the Heart opened on 25 February 2006, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
On 9 July 2009 this show appeared at the Buffalo Museum of Science in New York. As of May 2010, it was showing at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado. Body Worlds 4 debuted 22 February 2008 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in England and was in the Cureghem Cellars in Brussels until March 2009. Body Worlds & The Mirror of Time debuted at The O2 in London in October 2008. Körperwelten & Der Zyklus Des Lebens opened in Heidelberg in January 2009. Body Worlds Vital was inaugurated at the Universum museum of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2012. In 2017, the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, opened a semi-permanent exhibition called Body Worlds Decoded. Sponsored by venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife Ann, the exhibit features plastinated specimens supplemented by augmented reality and a digital anatomy table; the exhibit is intended to run for at least 10 years. In addition to temporary traveling exhibitions as of 2019, permanent Body Worlds exhibits are located in Berlin, Amsterdam, Heidelberg and San Jose.
Body Worlds has prepared free teaching guides for secondary school education made available through organizations hosting its exhibitions. In 2005, the New York University College of Dentistry experimented with replacing traditional laboratory dissection with the study of dissected and plastinated slices of specimens, for the training of beginning dental students. In July 2008, the Czech Senate passed a law to address illegal trading in human tissue and ban "advertising of donation of human cells and tissues for money or similar advantages". On Tuesday 21 April 2009, a French judge ruled concerning the Paris exhibition of Our Body: The Universe Within, that exhibiting dead bodies for profit was a "violation of the respect owed to them". "Under the law, the proper place for corpses is in the cemetery", said Judge Louis-Marie Raingeard. Raingeard ordered the exhibition to close within 24 hours or face a fine of 20,000 euro for each day it stayed open; the judge ordered authorities to seize the 17 bodies on display and all
Gina Pane was a French artist of Italian origins. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1960 to 1965 and was a member of the 1970s Body Art movement in France, called "Art corporel". Parallel to her art, Pane taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Mans from 1975 to 1990 and ran an atelier dedicated to performance art at the Centre Pompidou from 1978 to 1979 at the request of Pontus Hulten. Pane is best known for her performance piece The Conditioning, in which she is laid on a metal bedframe over an area of burning candles; the Conditioning was recreated by Marina Abramović as part of her Seven Easy Pieces at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2005. Gina Pane's estate is managed by her former partner Anne Marchand, she is represented by Galerie Kamel Mennour in Paris. Born in Biarritz to Italian parents, Pane passed part of her life in Italy, she returned to France to study under André Chastel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1960-1965. She died prematurely in 1990 following a long illness.
Extreme self-inflicted injury featured in much of Pane's performance work, distinguishing her from most other female body artists of the 1970s. Through the violence of cutting her skin with razor blades or putting out fires with her bare hands and feet, Pane intended to incite a "real experience" in the viewer, who would be moved to empathize with her discomfort; the shocking nature of these early performances — or "actions," as she preferred to call them — overshadowed her prolific photographic and sculptural practice. However, the body was a central concern in all of Pane's work, whether or conceptually. Pane claimed that she was influenced by political protests in Paris in May 1968, by such international conflicts as the Vietnam War. In Nourriture-actualités télévisées-feu she force-fed herself and spat back up 600 grammes of raw ground meat, watched the nightly news on television as she stared past a nearly blinding light bulb, extinguished flames with her bare hands and feet. After the performance, she said, people reported a heightened sensitivity.
"Everyone there remarked: ` It's strange, we never heard the news before. There's a war going on in Vietnam, unemployment everywhere.'" From 1962-1967 Pane produced geometric abstraction and created a number of metal sculptures by bending sheets of metal into simple shapes, the structures and her use of primary colors being reminiscent of minimal art. From her academic training, Pane developed an interest in the human body and turned to making sculpture and installation; this work considered the relationship between the nature. In 1968, Pane began making minutely prepared and documented actions in which each gesture was imbued with a ritual dimension. Pane distinguishes three periods of her artistic evolution: • 1968-1971: Placing the body in nature. Works include Displaced Stones, Protected Earth, Enfoncement d'un rayon de soleil. In Unanaestheticized Climb she climbed, barefoot, a ladder with rungs studded with sharp metal protrusions, stopping when she could not longer endure the pain. • 1970-late 1970s: The active body in public.
Pane considered time to be the material for these works. All that remains of these works are photographic documentation of chosen moments and the performative object; these actions constitute a research into another language. They seek to transform the individual through willed communication with the Other; this work rejects aestheticism. In 1973 at the Galerie Diagramma in Milan, Pane executed Sentimental Action before an audience, the first row of, female. Pane twice repeated an action twice, the first time with a bouquet of red roses, the second time with a bouquet of white roses. Passing progressively from standing to the fetal position, she executed first a back-and-forth movement with the bouquet, before pressing the thorns of a rose into her arms and making an incision with a razor blade on the palm of her hand; the form of the wounds on her arm stem of a rose. She described this work as a ‘projection of an intra space’ that dealt with the mother–child relationship.• Late 1970s-onward: Relationship of the body to the world.
For the installation series Action Notation she mixed photographs of her previous wounds with objects, such as toys, etc. from her previous actions. The process was controversial since it always involved an element of masochism: climbing up a ladder studded with razor blades, cutting her tongue or her ear, sticking nails into her forearm, smashing through a glass door, ingesting food to the point of nausea. Pane no longer based her approach on direct bodily experience, although the body remained pivotal and retained its symbolic significance through figures and materials. Lucy Lippard: The Pains and Pleasures of Rebirth: Women’s Body Art, A. America Polar Crossing Gina Pane: Travail d’action Pluchart, François: L'Art corporel, Éd. Limage 2, Paris, 1983 Gina Pane: Partitions et dessins Écritures dans la peinture, exhibition catalogue, Villa Arson – Centre national des arts plastiques, Nice, 1984. Vergine, L./Manganelli, G.: Gina Pane Partitions, Milan, 1985. G. Verzotti: "Richard Long, Salvatore Scarpitta, Gina Pane", Flash A. 117, 1986.
Gina Pane, exhibition catalogue, Gal. Brachot, Brussels, 1988. Gina Pane, exhibition catalogue, mus
Virtual reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment. It incorporates auditory and visual feedback, but may allow other types of sensory feedback; this immersive environment can be similar to the real world or it can be fantastical. Current VR technology most uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to "look around" the artificial world, move around in it, interact with virtual features or items; the effect is created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Other forms of VR include augmented reality and mixed reality systems. VR systems that include transmission of vibrations and other sensations to the user through a controller or other devices are known as haptic systems.
This tactile information is known as force feedback in medical, video gaming, military training applications. "Virtual" has had the meaning of "being something in essence or effect, though not or in fact" since the mid-1400s. The term "virtual" has been used in the computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" since 1959. In 1938, French avant-garde playwright Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as "la réalité virtuelle" in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double; the English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double, is the earliest published use of the term "virtual reality". The term "artificial reality", coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the 1970s; the term "virtual reality" was first used in a science fiction context in The Judas Mandala, a 1982 novel by Damien Broderick. One method by which virtual reality can be realized is simulation-based virtual reality.
Driving simulators, for example, give the driver on board the impression of driving an actual vehicle by predicting vehicular motion caused by driver input and feeding back corresponding visual and audio cues to the driver. With avatar image-based virtual reality, people can join the virtual environment in the form of real video as well as an avatar. One can participate in the 3D distributed virtual environment as form of either a conventional avatar or a real video. A user can select own type of participation based on the system capability. In projector-based virtual reality, modeling of the real environment plays a vital role in various virtual reality applications, such as robot navigation, construction modeling, airplane simulation. Image-based virtual reality system has been gaining popularity in computer graphics and computer vision communities. In generating realistic models, it is essential to register acquired 3D data. Desktop-based virtual reality involves displaying a 3D virtual world on a regular desktop display without use of any specialized positional tracking equipment.
Many modern first-person video games can be used as an example, using various triggers, responsive characters, other such interactive devices to make the user feel as though they are in a virtual world. A common criticism of this form of immersion is that there is no sense of peripheral vision, limiting the user's ability to know what is happening around them. A head-mounted display more immerses the user in a virtual world. A virtual reality headset includes two small high resolution OLED or LCD monitors which provide separate images for each eye for stereoscopic graphics rendering a 3D virtual world, a binaural audio system and rotational real-time head tracking for six degrees of movement, optionally motion controls with haptic feedback for physically interacting within the virtual world in a intuitive way with little to no abstraction. Augmented reality is a type of virtual reality technology that blends what the user sees in their real surroundings with digital content generated by computer software.
The additional software-generated images with the virtual scene enhance how the real surroundings look in some way. AR systems layer virtual information over a camera live feed into a headset or smartglasses or through a mobile device giving the user the ability to view three-dimensional images. Mixed reality is the merging of the real world and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. A cyberspace is a networked virtual reality. Simulated reality is a hypothetical virtual reality as immersive as the actual reality, it is most to be produced using a brain–computer interface and quantum computing. The exact origins of virtual reality are disputed because of how difficult it has been to formulate a definition for the concept of an alternative existence; the development of perspective in Renaissance Europe created convincing depictions of spaces that did not exist, in what has been referred to as the "multiplying of artificial worlds".
Other elements of virtual reality appeared as early as the 1860s. Antonin Artaud took the view that illusion was not distinct from reality, advocating that spectators at a play should suspend disbelief and regard the drama on stage as reality; the first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction. Morton Heilig wrote in the 1950s of an "Experience Theatre" that could encompass all the sen
Tightlacing is the practice of wearing a tightly-laced corset. It is done to achieve cosmetic modifications to the figure and posture or to experience the sensation of bodily restriction. Corsets were first worn by members of both genders of Minoans of Crete, but did not become popular again until the sixteenth century, they remained a feature of fashionable dress until the French Revolution, when corsets for women were designed to turn the torso into a fashionable cylindrical shape, although they narrowed the waist as well. They had shoulder straps, ended at the waist, flattened the bust, and, in so doing, pushed the breasts up; the emphasis of the corset became less on the smallness of the waist than on the contrast between the rigid flatness of the bodice front and the curving tops of the breasts peeking over the top of the corset. At the end of the eighteenth century, the corset fell into decline. Fashion for women embraced the Empire silhouette: a Graeco-Roman style, with the high-waisted dress, unique to this style gathered under the breasts.
The waist was no longer emphasised, dresses were sewn from thin muslins rather than the heavy brocades and satins of the aristocratic high fashion style preceding it. The reign of the Empire waist was short. In the 1830s, shoulders widened, skirts widened, the waistline narrowed and migrated toward a natural position. By the 1850s, exaggerated shoulders were out of fashion and waistlines were cinched at the natural waist above a wide skirt. Fashion had achieved. In the 1830s, the artificially inflated shoulders and skirts made the intervening waist look narrow with the corset laced only moderately; when the exaggerated shoulders disappeared, the style dictated that the waist had to be cinched in order to achieve the same effect. It is in the 1850s that the term "tightlacing" is first recorded, it was ordinary fashion taken to an extreme. Young and fashionable women were most to tightlace for balls, fashionable gatherings, other occasions for display. Older and primmer women would have laced moderately – just enough "to be decent".
The Victorian and Edwardian corset differed from earlier corsets in numerous ways. The corset flared out and ended several inches below the waist; the corset was exaggeratedly curvaceous rather than cylindrical. It became much sturdier in construction, thanks to improvements in technology. Spiral steel stays curved with the figure rather than dictating a cylindrical silhouette. While many corsets were still sewn by hand to the wearer's measurements, there was a thriving market in cheaper mass-produced corsets. In the late years of the Victorian era, medical reports and rumors claimed that tightlacing was fatally detrimental to health. Women who suffered to achieve small waists were condemned for their vanity and excoriated from the pulpit as slaves to fashion, it was claimed that too small a waist was ugly rather than beautiful. Dress reformers exhorted women to abandon the tyranny of stays and free their waists for work and healthy exercise. Despite the efforts of dress reformers to eliminate the corset, despite medical and clerical warnings, women persisted in tightlacing.
In the early 1900s, the small corseted waist began to fall out of fashion. The feminist and dress reform movements had made practical clothing acceptable for exercise; the rise of the Artistic Dress movement made loose clothing and the natural waist fashionable for evening wear. Couturiers such as Fortuny and Poiret designed exotic, alluring costumes in pleated or draped silks, calculated to reveal slim, youthful bodies. If one didn't have such a body, new undergarments, the brassiere and the girdle, promised to give the illusion of one. Corsets were no longer fashionable, but they entered the underworld of the fetish, along with items such as bondage gear and vinyl catsuits. From the 1960s to the 1990s, fetish wear became a fashion trend and corsets made something of a resurgence, they are worn as top garments rather than underwear. Most corset wearers own a few bustiers or fashionable authentic corsets for evening wear, but they do not tightlace. Historical reenactors wear corsets, but few tightlace.
A typical training routine begins with the use of a well-fitted corset and gradual decreases in the waist circumference. Lacing too too may cause extreme discomfort and short-term problems such as shortness of breath and faintness and chafing of the skin if a liner is not worn, it may cause irreversible damage to the corset, so corsets should be seasoned appropriately. The primary effect of tightlacing is the decreased size of the waist; the smallest waist recorded is that of Ethel Granger, who tightlaced for most of her life and achieved a waist of 13 inches: a reduction of more than ten inches. Such extreme reductions take a long time to achieve. At first, corsets with waist measurements four inches smaller than the tightlacer's natural waist size were recommended by well-known corsetières such as the late Iris Norris; the length of time it would take a tightlacer to get used to this reduction would vary on his or her physiology. Thereafter, reducing another couple of inches would not be much more difficult, but each inch after a six-inch reduction may take a year to achieve.
The diminished waist and tight corset reduce the volume of the torso. This is sometimes reduced further by styles of corset that for