The portrait of three women are taken in the interest of showing what a human is. These women all have “mixed” genetics. Society refers to people with a mixed background as “multiracial”. But race is not biological; it is a social construct. To see a human for what it is, these humans are identified as humans and nothing more. Their portraits are collaged in the L'Uomo Vitruviano design sequence, first used by Leonardo da Vinci, to elicit the investigator’s innate curiosity for symmetry. Face perception—the evolved ability of Homo sapiens to understand and interpret the face—is the reason why human’s are highly aware of and find pleasure in, symmetry. This instinctive search for visual symmetrical perception is put to use by juxtaposing half of a woman with her other half, as opposed to comparative anatomy between different women. Furthermore, these faceless woman lack any identity except for what they give themselves via their personal anatomical drawings. For “identical comparison”, they were asked to draw their identity of how they see themselves, next to half of their body. In the second drawing the women were asked to again to draw how they see themselves, but this time literally, next to the portrait of their back, which they cannot ever see directly straight on without a mirror. The humans compare themselves with themselves for others to compare themselves.
MILLER [pointing to a particular image on the canvas]: now, why did you paint that?
BASQUIAT: Because I felt like it
MILLER: So, you stared imitating them? [anatomy books]?
BASQIUAT: I’m not really imitating, you now, I use them as source material.
If we can extole the virtues of the diversity of life, biodiversity, then you want multiple examples of something to say what really defines it (and not what does not [define life]). Because what is life, when in the end all that life is, is a sample of common DNA. How can you even define your sample if it exists as only one. And scientifically generally you want multiple examples of something to say: here is what they have in common, here is what’s different, here is what really defines it, here is what doesn’t. This is why at the beginning of every Biology text book is, what is life? Well we are not sure…
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson 2016
The man is a political animal (Zoon politikon, ζῷον πoλιτικόν)
We use Comparative Anatomy to try to categorize the repetition we pick up on. Homologous structures are structural similarities between organisms because they shared a common ancestor even though the structure may not perform the same function. Analogous Structures are structures similar in different organisms because they evolved in a similar environment, as opposed to being inherited from a recent common ancestor. This scientific method was the basis for the eugenics movement. Eugenicists published elaborate comparative diagrams between “races” to prove why phenotypic expression determined your stature and intelligence when compared in society. And still during the 21st century, modern eugenics include genetic screening, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation as well as segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies and genocide and especially fashion brands that only promote the white beauty standard. “In the end” Neil deGrasse declares in his seminar on alien life forms “all that life is, is a sample of common DNA”. The eugenics movement used the Vitruvian man as an example of the “perfect body”. The Vitruvian design has been tailored from its original form to fit each of the three individual’s bodies.
When Plato gave Socrates' definition of man as "featherless bipeds" and was much praised for the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato's Academy, saying, "Behold! I've brought you a man." After this incident, "with broad flat nails" was added to Plato's definition.