⁕ Brain-storming Workshop ⁕
Group tutorial ~ Tuesday
At the start of the lesson, we shared our progressing thoughts and ideas for this project, and received feedback for what we should consider and improve with our work. I didn’t have much physical to share; most of what I’ve been doing is reading and researching than creating. Caitlin also let me read over some of the bird pages from ‘The Book of Symbols’ which I’ve been dying to buy since:
We also initiated our ideas for the student-led workshop in Week 9. We needed to connect our workshop to sound & site-specific art, as well as our own interests, so I picked to make windchime dreamcatchers, using natural materials (feathers, sticks, shells), some of which people could find beforehand. I would teach it’s meaning and significance; it disappoints me how dreamcatchers have lost a lot of their spiritual and cultural meaning through fashion companies minimising them into basic accessories. I would also want to work on and explore the metaphysical and subconscious aspects of dreams in my later work, so I thought it would tie in well altogether. (I forgot to take a picture of the poster I made, where I wrote down the steps and divided the activities.) For the end result, everyone would display their creations by the sea, where the wind would create sound through the glass, shells and windchimes on the dreamcatchers.
This poem from ‘I’m not your final girl’ struck as the first inspiration to this project. It connects all the things I’ve explored so far, transformation, women as birds, and as witches. And also, the universal feeling inside of every woman in situations like this to escape; but only being able to bury itself in an isolated bubble, still being “tethered” in the tangible world. It explores the nature of psychosis, women’s fears and mania, through imagery of rotting skinned rabbits, cracks in pavements and hands groping from walls. Even though I liked watching this film, it still creeps me out how ironic it is…
Becoming with Animal
An essay that I found informative, ‘Becoming-with-animal’ talks about the performative inner and outer transformations women have gone through to become one with animal, how different aspects and experiences, such as hysteria, oppression and sorcery, can create a doorway into this ‘hybridity’ and complexity to our own nature. I have highlighted parts which I find interesting and link with my project:
Artist research: Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois is known for her sculptures and large-scale installation art, specifically with ‘Maman’, which I thought went well with the Becoming-spider chapter (17-20) in the essay above. There is a connection between spiders and women too, their symbolism signifying divine femininity and creativity. Bourgeois work is heavily focused on procreation, birth and maternity, creating “women houses” by weaving women’s bodies together with architecture. She also focuses as her parents as a centre-point for her art, the spider works signifying her mother. Her mother used to repair tapestries, so Bourgeois used spiders for a metaphor of spinning, weaving, care and protection, all signifying her mother’s roles in her life before she died in 1932:
“The spider is an ode to my mother […] because my mother was as smart, patient, clean and useful, reasonable, essential as a spider”.
For me her work is hypnotising, through the dual imagery of her spider sculptures; how spiders invoke fear with their multiple outstretched legs, especially through the monumental size of these pieces, however, they all provide protection and shelter, releasing its power, strength and pride. I think its the symbol for female complexity, how female nature can equally be the centre of space and beauty to being grotesque, like the monstrous feminine, which I’m currently exploring in my painting class. Pinterest
“[B]ecoming-spider offers a form of “release and resolution” […] tarantism aligns closely with the notion of female hysteria” (p.21, Becoming-with-animal)
Fitzgerald-Allsopp, Florence. Becoming-with-Animal: Cultivating a Feminist Understanding
of Human-Animal Transformation in Contemporary Performance Art, 2019