Feedback on the work has been positive, staff who have walked past have said it’s simplicity and size are striking so I’m pleased I didn’t end up making it huge. Some reactions the work so far have been:
“Tranquil yet destructive”
“Beautiful and satisfying to watch”
“Sad yet strong”
“Beauty in perishing things: something about the clay slowly withering away. But then it becomes sad. I understand the educational aspect of it, the awareness. I get conflicted. Should I be appreciating the beauty of it? Or not?”
- this one is particularly helpful in understanding my audience and how they react to the cues within my display, as I am aiming to reveal a history and a practice of silencing women through the same themes present in trauma – the eventual breaking down, the erosion, the helplessness of the situation, all while referencing windows to see things through, to witness something.
“That I’ve been indoctrinated under patriarchy to accept exploitation of and violence against women’s bodies – of my own body and the bodies of other women, so over the course of my life so far I’ve become desensitised to it. Which is both an intended effect of patriarchy but a coping mechanism too. Watching the clay pots dissolve in water is a visually interactive representation of the work that goes into creating life, inflicting trauma upon those lives, and how all too easily all this can be erased by the historical record. Work went into every clay pot, and for me anyway – I don’t know if this is what you were going for but – the water seemed to represent colonial and imperialist control of each woman’s story by eroding and eventually erasing it.”
- This response came from a friend who saw the work during the Work in Progress show and I’m touched by how much she was able to read into the work. She had the added context of my dissertation, but aside from that I had only been showing her my making and my title and it seemed to click really clearly for her. Reflecting on her words has made me feel proud of how passionate I am about my research.