This installation, titled Cicatrix, is about the practice of self-shaming that is so prevalent in our society. We wake up every morning, look in the mirror and call ourselves names that do nothing for our quality of life. These names are scars on our souls taught to us by family, friends, enemies, the media, and society in general. We have learned to incorporate them into our personal identities, like scarification rituals mark the skin.
To gather these words, I asked for submission anonymously on my website. I received over 400 responses with fifty unique words of which 30 are represented here. The words submitted most frequently were fat, lazy, stupid, and ugly. While receiving these submissions, I was most struck by the idea that no one that ever called themselves fat became skinny, calling yourself lazy won’t you make you more ambitious, no one who ever called themselves stupid suddenly became intelligent, nor did anyone ever become beautiful who called themselves ugly. It is a self-defeating practice.
These words are personal, scars on our souls, that we write there daily. But such words are mere shadows given to us to create pain within our fragile and precious beings. In order to represent this, I had the globes hand-blown for me so they would be objects with value yet delicate. Then I used a hand rotary tool to engrave each word backwards so that their shadows would read from left to right when light is shown through them into the room they inhabit. I’ve suspended them to show how isolating the terms are. I want Cicatrix to shine a light on the power we give shame over our lives and to share how much all of us do it. My own words are idiot, lazy, and fat.
Due to requests, I have started taking submissions again. You can go to the Participate tab above and it will take you to a form where you can anonymously send me the words you use to shame yourself.
You can follow my progress here, on Facebook and on Twitter as I complete the engraving process.