With my graduation project, I wanted to visualise this process of change and doubt that I am still going through. I want to do so by looking at a creature’s home or its shell.
In this work, I think of myself as a creature. I take in the places I inhabit; they have entered my body and started a long process of mutation, adaptation and transformation of every inch of my body. I am but a small particle, wanting to belong, wanting to be itself, a fragile balance. As I inhabit a place, I crave to call it home; I crave to feel at home. There's also a home that inhabits me. Together with home or what home could have been, shame and melancholy live in me. Inhabiting me and people alike it brings us closer. As we collectively experience this phenomenon, we can weave a home around each other, creating new memories, wrapping them around us like a warm rug. In relation to friendship and connection, belonging could be defined as the process of merging and intertangling your past experiences of home with the new ones that you are able to collectively make with your group of peers (N. Lovell, 1998).
The shell I’ve inhabited has three chambers of three different sizes, from tall and big to quite small. Under the shell there is a carpet, made of square blocks, its size changes in reverse to the shell above. The important thing about the shell is the physical aspect of how much of your body it covers. As you move away from the place you grew up most of your life is still there and your body is almost fully covered by the shell. You are surrounded by images, memories and things that are familiar and easy, the carpet under your feet is small and plain.
It is difficult to move further in a process as complex as adaptation, thus the second chamber of your shell might be a bit chaotic, the fear of losing the familiar is strong and you grab and hoard anything you can reach from your “old” life. While you are busy navigating this chaos you might not realise that the carpet under your feet is getting bigger, sturdier and some colour begins to appear.
Now we reach the last chamber of this shell, it is quite small and probably can only go over your head. Around you isn’t much, seems empty and quiet, just a few faces across the plain canvas. Only the most important components have made it here, you gaze upon the faces of what matters to you the most from that place, frozen back in time. You feel the strength and urge to look down, beneath your feet extends a carpet, it’s big and secure, full of colour and life.
Maybe what you’ve been craving was outside all along, and you were just too busy and worried to look down and see the ground expand. Continuing the journey does not erase the past and does not erase the things you care about, but gives you space to move further.
Step out whenever you are ready, the ground is there.
As a part of my installation I also showed a short animation that i made earlier this year.
'Routine' is a short animation that aims to translate the feeling of recurring shame in day to day life. Using particular russian symbols to demonstrate the fragments of my heritage, I keep removing them from my line of sight, running away from confrontation and emotions they bring out. The way these fragments keep making their way back portrays the intrusive nature of these thoughts, and the extent to which running away doesn't rid you of your past.