I just came across this video and seeing the styleboards for all of the different nail designs got me thinking about... all sorts of things.
Kid Sister ft. Kanye West - "Pro Nails" from Ruben Fleischer on Vimeo.
A lot of the pointless conversations about art and culture evaporate if you stop using words like "ART" and put all of those endeavors and behaviors into broader categories of "style making behavior" and "aesthetics".
I will be the first to admit that seeing those long, ornately designed daggers trigger gut level reactions that make me wince a bit but that speaks to my cultural prejudices and doesn't say or explore anything very interesting. Nail design is another example where people isolate something as a aethetic display and then increasingly push and elaborate the distinctive features. (In the past I've cited things like spray tans and jean cuffs .)
Liberty Nail Design: Nail Art Gallery
This image is a page from CND's Look Book
I've always been fascinated by styleboards. There's something mesmerizing about staring at menu of visual options. The theater of the "pick the one you want" experience also seems to reference childhood moments of being rewarded or receiving a gift or prize. When I was a child the dentist I went to would give you a cheap plastic ring and the end of every visit. The receptionist would pull out a big foam board with rows and rows of toy rings. (I was always a big fan of the black spider rings.
Styleboards also refernece a very fundamental aspect of what it is to be a human and create culture. The process of imagination is the act of creating an internal "possible world" and mentally placing yourself in it. Culture is the process by which we physically manifest a "possible world" and place ourselves in it.
And in some instances, like ordering Chinese food, its just easier to look at pictures of plates of food and give the numbr to the person taking the order.