“I know that there is a thin line between intuition and vision, and between vision and hallucination. And I also know that the difference between madness and creativity lies not so much in the nature of the inner experience of seeing something in a new way, but rather in what is done by the individual with that inner experience” (June Singer, Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung’s Psychology)
Over the past several years, I became fascinated with a paradoxical view of “comfort zones”– that just because a mental or emotional state of being or a physical place is familiar, it may not be the most comfortable after all. My forms demonstrated a struggle between staying bound to something or breaking free from the imprisonment. My interest in comfort zones is deeply rooted in my own past experiences. As a child, I began experiencing dissociation as a coping mechanism, going through bouts of depersonalization and derealization where it felt as though I was separate from my body and my surroundings, like I was watching my life unfold as an uninvolved viewer in front of a television screen. This disconnection from reality was simultaneously comforting and terrifying.
I have recently been trying to make art that attempts to recreate the experience of being in this state of depersonalization/derealization. This condition has brought on bouts of constant emotional numbness and anhedonia, sensory symptoms of seeing the world through tunnel vision or a telescope-like lens, and having people’s voices and other noises sound almost echolike or as if they are coming from much farther away. Looking into mirrors or otherwise seeing my reflection becomes a surreal experience. I see my reflection, but it seems alien. It doesn’t look like me or feel like me looking back. In severe instances, a strange mind-body disconnect happens where it feels like my body is made of lead while it feels like my mind is floating. In these cases, I become mute, physically unable to speak. It’s a paradox of simultaneously being trapped inside your body and being trapped outside of it at the same time. Drifting in and out of bouts of this dissociated state of varying degrees of severity, especially at a young age, creates both a very fragmented reality and a very fragmented view of oneself.
I approach materials in a way that considers not only the physical qualities of their materiality but also their psychological aspects and how these qualities can be changed and altered when used with materials of contrasting qualities. In The Sculptural Idea, James J. Kelley writes “Because sculpture is tangible, it cannot be denied… Presence activates response”. By using sculpture and installation (and soon video) and by utilizing both the psychological and physical materiality of what I use to make these pieces I am trying to foster an open dialogue about these experiences by making them real and tangible, inviting the viewer come into the experience as opposed to staying at a distance to see what it is like, and hopefully empathize.