On the Other Side

FLYER1

 

For this exhibition, I built a site-specific installation with several materials, to embody my Watery experience in Berlin.

I sourced a Water tank from the local eBay platform, filling it with a piece of fabric that resembles my skin tone, bought at the Maybachufer Market. I collected some Water plants from several Bodies of Water I visited, mainly the ones that made me feel at ease and welcome. I found a used Water fountain, which I put in the fish tank, making the Water flowing, moving. The sound was made of Watery clapotis, smoothing, calming. Three pieces of fabrics were hanging from the ceiling, making the installation blurry, giving it a feeling of closeness, where visitors had to go around to enter it. Plus, a video was projected onto the fabrics: there were excerpts of videos I took at several Bodies of Water, a closeup of the Water and my Skin surfaces, abstracting patterns from those two entities and merging them into an aesthetic material.

 

“…she took her hand and raised her brush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a painful but exciting ecstacy in the air. Where to begin?–that was the question at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex; as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk must run; the mark made.”

To the lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

Ricochet #4

Psoriatic Skinscapes

Skin is the only physical and visible interface between our inner subjectivities and the outside world. Scars, stretch-marks, veins, wrinkles, tattoos, its surface invites strangers to read its history, our history. We are always on display to others through our Skin conditions, whether we like it or not. Skin bears a deep meaning and is accountable for many dynamics in our identity-making. Shaved, exfoliated, pierced. A colour tone, an imperfection, a crust and our body falls into a specific hermetic normative box.

Although the Skin is a consciously malleable surface, to some extent, it is also a traitor to our deepest traumatic experiences: “the notion of skin memory draws on the work of Didier Anzieu (1989), who argues that the ego is first and foremost a skin ego: ‘the projection in the psychic of the body’.” Therefore, a Skin condition, and especially one with disorders, shows the state of one’s mental health. Hence the concept of “Skinscapes”, the Skin as a site of subconscious expression.

Anzieu, quite bluntly, further reveals that “the irritation of the epidermis becomes confused with mental irritation’ (1989: 32–33)”. In this view, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and all those itchy and swollen epidermic patterns, endorse the role of signals, visual expressions of mental illnesses.

Skin disorders carry a heavy cultural weight as Anzieu explains: “he identifies a confusion of borders and limits as symptomatic of Western culture at the end of twentieth century (1989)”. Therefore, a problematic epidermis reveals the trauma in one’s inner history, both from a micro and a macro perspective. The body’s surface carries the memory of the dysfunctional family and society failures.

It is a vicious circle: those traumatic burdens come and squat on our Skins, embodied in skin disorders, like unwanted parasite, making our bodies even more difficult to live in, stigmatising them in Others’ eyes.

The concept of ‘skin autobiographies’ has been introduced by Jay Prosser: writing the Skin as a cathartic process. This is my visual Skin Autobiography, using my own Skin flaws as an aesthetic source of inspiration. I would also like to call for a wider comprehension of Skin and Body diversity, hoping to awaken a sense of compassion and understanding in the viewers’ eyes.

Ricochet #4

Poster by the talented Andrea Sisó.

IMG_7261

View of the display at the Glove that Fits for Ricochet #4.


 

A3 C-type hand printing by Labyrinth.

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