This term I learned a lot about this no-name no-brand £2 bag. It has a 70+ years history filled with tragedy, hardship, but at the same time – hopes and resilience. This bag is a personification of unbreakable, unstoppable human spirit and will to survive no matter what. This spirit is encoded in our DNA since the dawn of human kind.
This sculpture continues my work with the theme of migration. I incorporated this unwanted green house as a frame for ‘The Immigrant’s house’. Starting from the scratch, exaggerated – not even bare walls, bare frame, as a carcass of a house, with hand crochet attempts to bring some life and warmth in it.
It is work in progress. Maybe I’ll leave it like this – letting the absence speak.
I am a hoarder. I have all sorts of stuff, including a flag of Mongolia (true story). (And don’t you dare, Marie Kondo, to even touch it.)
So my moving was quiet a complicated process. I was interested to see what other people brought when they migrated to the UK (or other countries). I created a short survey on surveymonkey.com and shared it in a few groups on facebook. I did not receive a lot of answers, only 34 participants, which is enough at the moment. The answers are rather predictable (no one brought a Mongolian flag).
There were only 3 questions: how many bags? What did you bring? What was the most important to you?
As you can see, mainly clothes. Which is obvious, we always think that we need more clothes than we actually do. But still, one pack clothes for all can of weather from -30C to +50C, including tornadoes and tsunamis.
My favourite answer is “the kettle”. I totally get this person. And I am definitely going to use a kettle in one of my sculptures. Home isn’t a home without a kettle!
Relationship between people and their possessions is truly an interesting one. Why do we carry with us what we carry? Why do we drag across the world all these clothes and worthless stuff? Like a dunk beetle pushing its precious ball of shit. It gives us a feeling of safety. Bags stuffed with clothes are our metaphorical safety cushions. Why one needs to bring their pillows and a kettle to another country? When you can buy them in any shop? Because they make us feel more at home, less lonely.
Next term I am going to explore this subject deeper – the content of bags and relationships with items.
I had a conversation with my friend sparkled by some comments we have seen on social media, just an example:
This is what some people imagine dirty infectious barbarians with scabies, rabies and god-knows-what paddling in their filthy boats towards Great Britain to heal their stinky wounds and spread diseases. Not only plague-ridden, but also root of all evil, including tool-stealing crimes. That’s what attracts immigrants to England – to treat scabies and steal some tools. Yes, I am trivialising the complexity of the situation, it is not just black or white, however, media also did it’s cunning job of pouring oil on the fire.
In a recent book ostensibly focused on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, but partly about recent British political history, the academics Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts explain the last decade in terms of “austerity populism”. Cuts, welfare crackdowns and the case for leave, they explain, were all sold to the public via the exclusion of supposedly unproductive undesirables: “scroungers” in the austerity narrative; “migrants” in the stories that swirled around the 2016 referendum.(saurce)
But whether it is a lack of affordable housing and secure jobs, stagnating living standards or underfunded public services, all these grievances have increasingly been seen through the prism of immigration. And that is what the passions generated by this referendum are really all about. (saurce)
Images started appearing in my mind: immigrants like beasts, dehumanised… As a response to that I drew a series of “beasts”: based on mythological creatures, but ironical and harmless: Cerberus, Centaurus, Harpy, Minotaur.
I named them after Greek mythical creatures as archetypes living in our communal consciousness.
As a part of Scholarship programme I received a studio place in Hot Bed Press and I am going to use this opportunity to develop my printmaking skills. My main focus still is on sculpture, however I want to explore other techniques as well.
I did some screen-printing in the past and chose this technique for a start. Practice makes perfect, 10 000 hours to become an expert, here comes nothing, hold my beer.
I really really really tried to make a smart looking clear diagram of my research. I had a few attempts. Thinking ‘ok, it needs time to settle down, leave it for now, come back tomorrow‘. Tomorrow brought no clarity. I tinkered with it, left for another tomorrow. It did not become any smarter or clearer either. I tried. And tried. And tried again. I came to the conclusion, that I simply can not show in two dimensions what requires at least 26 dimensions known to science (and a few unknown ones too).
The closest I could come to anything more or less comprehensible:
For those who feel dizzy I made a flat-earthed version of this diagram. It does kinda explain my whole concept surrounding The Bag, however, it does look very flat, bland and does not show all interconnection between segments.
In order to weave everything together in a comprehensive and, at the same time, multifaceted piece, I intend to create a performance about migration with costumes and set create from bags.
After playing around classical art memes, I decided to experiment with political images. One of the most popular recent memes was a photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg slouching in Parliament. I just could not stay away from it – it was asking for some bags to be added.
I love memes. It is my form of relaxation as well as a quick an easy way of getting a dose of instant gratification. I know, I know, meditation or jogging would be much healthier, but I can’t be too perfect.
Some people smoke, some people play video games – I scroll through memes. Yes, I should cut down on this unhealthy habit, but my brain is already hooked up and craving a new dose of humour. And Sheri Klein states in her book ‘Art & Laughter’, that Andre Breton and Freud related experience of humour to the experience of pleasure and that makes us come back for more and more laughs.