first assignment rietveld
Make a self-portrait (of yourself) for a someone living with a disability. By disability I mean someone who experiences the world differently than you; lack of eyesight, hearing, feeling, touching, thinking, etc.
materials - plaster, linnen, plastic, netting
medium - sculpture
My final work of the hearing part of dissociation was called "you are not your brain". This is a discussion in the Neuroscience field. Some scientists say you are not your brain, you are not your thoughts. This is also supported by the Mindfulness field, where you learn to distance yourself from your thoughts and be less taken away by those thoughts. At that time I was learning these principles as I was my struggling with my mental health. I was learning that my thoughts aren't always right. The "you are not your brain" principle represented my growth process as a person, so I wanted to include this in my self-portrait. I wanted to visualize this by making my face separate from my brain. This distance between the two of them represents the distance I am learning to create between me and my thoughts. But on the other hand, many scientist discuss this principle, because what are you if you are not your brain? I am trying to understand, but can't quite put my finger on it. The unstable cord represent the unstableness of the statement. The nursery-like cloth and cord represent me trying to heal my own mental health with, in this case, Mindfulness. To sneak in my experience I made music to activate the hearing sense of the spectator. Well, this starting point for my work is a whole different thing on it's own, because during the process of making my self-portrait I whole new interest started blooming: senses.
I wanted to experiment with plaster, a medium I had never used, and wanted to present myself to someone living with lack of eyesight. Feel me. Unknowingly what would happen I covered myself in plaster till I could't see anymore. The instructions said I had to wait about 20 to 30 minutes to let it dry. As prepared as I was I obviously forgot to time it, but luckily my dad was still at home just before he had to leave. Just before I covered my mouth I asked him to set a timer. And then I sat there, on a chair, without knowing how to spend my time. 20 minutes maybe sounds short, but it's very long when you're sitting on a chair, without being able to do anything. To enjoy me my dad put some experimental Miles Davis music on the speakers and that it when it started to hit me. An urge came so intensely from inside to dance, to move with the music. It felt like I was on some kind of drugs (without knowing how that feels obviously :)). This urge became stronger and stronger and like some three I started moving with the music. With the lack of eyesight my focus was smaller. Hearing felt intensely, as I had never experienced before. I did remind me of my past self; as a kid I always had problems with hearing and had to be operated on pretty regularly. One time I had gotten tubes and when I got out of hospital I could't handle all the sounds I could suddenly hear. A car passing by and I shrank. At home I flushed the toilet and this was, to me, so loud I ran out of the bathroom. But also positive things like being able to join a conversation without immediately interrupting with "what?". The plaster experience was different, but I my hearing sense was suddenly "on".
With making my self-portrait for someone living with a disability I myself experienced a tiny bit of what it is like (without saying I know what it is like, because I off course don't). I have heard before that people with lack of eyesight for example can hear much better, but I didn't expect this to be real nor that I could experienced this myself.
My senses investigation continues in the project "dissociation 2".