In this Friday’s practical session, we did an exercise in pairs. Our task was to come up with a spell that could be used for productivity – something we find helps us personally, and perform these in front of the rest of the group. Sofia and I did two different spells with a similar basis, rather than one combined one, so that we’d both benefit from it as much as possible. We were both interested in the way that listening to music affects our practice, and so decided on each choosing a song for the other person that they hadn’t heard before. While listening to these using headphones in the same room, I concentrated on the lyrics and noted any that I felt I connected with in some way, and Sofia moved around the space and rearranged its contents.
For me, Sofia chose the song River by Ibeyi, and for Sofia I chose American Teenager by Ethel Cain (:
I thought this exercise was super fun, and it was really interesting to see what the rest of the group came up with, too ! After everybody had performed their rituals, we had one big group mantra that we can look back on through the module – it’ll be really interesting to see how each of us use it !
On Monday, I had my second 1-1 tutorial ! We talked about the ideas I have for my project and what I’m hoping to get out of it, and I think my main goal is to develop my writing (: I want to use it as an opportunity to explore my sense of self, and I’m planning to do this by creating a handful of different characters that are all an extension of the person that I am right now, but with a few key differences that make them distinctive. I think the format that I’m going for is to write up a short description of each one, and then write a sort of response to that as myself. That way I get to reflect on whatever their distinct characteristics might be, and also separate them from me – while still allowing us to exist in the same timeline. Because I also wanted this project to allow me to try new things practice-wise, I’ll also write in the kind of art that my characters create, and try to recreate it in real life ! I’m not quite sure yet how I’ll display these together, I’m going to experiment with this over the next couple of days (:
So far, though, I’ve written up a final draft for my first character, and done the practical stuff that I wrote in ! For this one, it was clay jewellery and origami. I did find the clay nice to work with, but I also thought that it was a little frustrating – I haven’t quite learned how to stop it from cracking, yet, and it took me a while to get a clean-ish design. The messiness actually works pretty well for the character, so it isn’t a problem ! I just don’t think I’m too keen to work with clay again in the future, or at least not to make anything more delicate. The origami I did find really fun – I thought it was kind of like a puzzle, which I liked a lot. The end result also wasn’t amazing technically, but that was never the point (: I’m quite happy with the way that the written element turned out; I was a little nervous around having writing be such a big part of my project, because I’ve never really done it before. I think it’s going pretty well, though ! I think that the most difficult part so far is letting myself be vulnerable, especially knowing that other people are going to be reading about it. It’s been really nice pushing myself out of my comfort zone, though !
During our tutorial on Monday, Caitlin introduced me to an artist that she thought was really relevant to the work that i’m doing – Sin Wai Kin (: Their practice is similar to the kind of stuff that I want to make for my project; particularly the creation of different characters and the underlying theme of gender! While their work is a lot more theatrical and performative than what I’m aiming for, it’s been super interesting for me to see how they bring their characters to life, and how they describe the way that they exist within the same universe.
I like the way that they describe their characters as a ‘reflection or a site for people to see themselves,’ and I think what they’re doing with this in terms of challenging gender binaries is so important. I know that when I was coming to terms with my own gender identity, seeing somebody disregard the social standards in the way the Kin does would’ve helped me feel so much less alone. In a way, I’d like for my project to have a similar effect on young trans people, but I’m also aware that my primary aim is exploring myself – so it’s okay if it doesn’t !