Thinking about the topic, I finally chose DID as a main theme for Unit 7 - I wanted to come up with the topic which would be interesting to develope the whole period of part 3 and which I ain't be bored by in some time. For me, 'DID' is the topic which could be seen broad and narrow at the same time, and obviously the main idea is inseparably connected to people, personalities and human nature. Speaking about the reason I finally chose that particular disease, I could say that this one is interested for me because I could not understand it no matter how hard I try, I just can't imagine myself not being the only one living in my body. It is so easy nowadays to accept the idea of exhistance of DID, but still it is irresistibly hard to understand how one personality could be kinda switched off and other just wake up in the very same body. Nevertheless, comparing to the acience, science made an enermous step forward, while in the past people having these disease were just called possessed with demons and 'specialists' like exorcists and priests were trying to get rid of them via some strange, dangerous, but mysterious and even magical rithuals, and often made people die just for not completely understanding the reason of such behaviour. We actually have the same problem in present as well - if we can't understant it we don't accept it - which is really wrong and ruins a lot of lives.
Rashid Johnson - 'SMILE'
The exhibition’s title, ‘Smile’, takes inspiration from a celebrated image by French-American photographer Elliott Erwitt; a young black boy grins broadly while holding a gun to his head. The tension within Erwitt’s image, which is at once joyful and inherently tragic, underpins this entire exhibition. Anxiety, neurosis, and psychotherapy are frequent themes of Johnson’s work.
I decided to visit this exhibition because it seemed for me like it is my topic. All the works I've seen on exhibition were representing loss of personality. Each piece reminded a faces showing various emotions. Nevertheless, faces themselves were actually quite frightening, they looked like shadows of someone, who some time ago was a human but not any more. The other thought was that this may be an interpretation of the soul. The soul of a person who was mentally ill or who experienced something so awful in his life that even the soul (or personality) is almost lost and hard to see.
The only color the artist used was black. Black wax, black soap. Really rough scratches all around the surface. Looks actually really sick. Inspiring.
After all the research I made I decided that I definitely want to concentrate on feelings. What does the person who has Dissociative Identity Disorder feels? What is the difference between me and him? How could different personalities be trapped in one body? As there are lots of different cases, such as one represented in "The Mask" movie, than person realizes that there is one more personality, and person actually controls the switches; in "Identity", when alter had its own world and he didn't know he's not real; or in "The Fight Club", where the alter realized that he exist only in the head of Narrator, while Narrator didn't even know that Tyler was not real, so they both could exist at the same time without any switching (actually, it sounds more like an imaginary friend). The most obvious idea is to create a mask, as the main point of this disease, I think, is that person just creates alter because he needs help to deal with some particular problems or with life in general.
So, as I want to concentrate on feelings and representing the emotions of person with DID, mask is too simple because mostly it only shows the idea. I think I need to get deeper inside the psyschological aspect of the disease so understand it more clear.
I watched a lot of movies and now I kinda now how different people see the disease. But they all actualy have absolutely different views on that topic. I think for the best result I have to experience it on my own. As I obviously (fortunately or unfortunately) don't have the alter-ego, and I could not create it unnaturally, I could only become someone I am not. I need to do things I usually don't because I don't like 'em or I'm scared to do, I need to find a way to become someone I always wanted to be. And, of course, evaluate the feelings I have after doing something. That would be helpful for understanding the disease a bit.
Next step of my research unexpectedly was Merilyn Monroe. This idea gave me Nicola on my last tutorial, and i realised that 'DID' is not always that deep as I worked on before but it could also be considered like in case of Merilyn. I could not claim she had this particular mental health but no one would doubt that she actually did have 2 persnalities: Norma Jean - the one she was born, and Merilyn Monroe - the one she decided to become. Why? What should happen to person so he/she wants so bad to become someone else? Actually, I think everybody with no exception at least onse wanted to be other person, better one, maybe more beautiful and reach, more famous or, on the contrary, more invisible for people. But definitely not everybody have courage to risk everything they have to start the new life, like Merilyn did. But the question is still unanswered, why? I'm not a psychologist and, besides, I don't have really good intuition and insight to understand people, to realise what do they think about or what do they feel, so my opinion and thought according to that question would be quiet abstract. Everything, what surrounds us, is full of stereotypes which are actually created by the same people as I am, as my classmates are, as everybody evlse are. Someone created special rules and crazy ideas of what is right and what is wrong, what's beautiful, what's appropriate, etc. We all are just reflectors. We reflect those stereotypes because we don't want to be judged, but at the same time we hate those stereotypes. Human nature is so bipolar - we want to be similar to everybody so no one could say something wrong and bad about us but at the very same time we want to be unique, because every each of us feels that he is individual, there is no other, and wants everyone to see how unique he is. So did Norma. She reflected on stereotypes of what beauty is, and how the perfect woman/actress should look like, and she became the exact person everybody wantedher to be. And she took a perfect name. Full set. Excluding character. But almost nobody cared about it any longer.
By some reason people just don't realise that THEY makes those stereotypes which sometimes are just insane. And they keep believing, and they keep reflecting.
According to Wikipedia,
"In social psychology, a stereotype is a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things. These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect reality."
So, in some way, we work like mirrors to each other. When we see or talk to someone, we see and feel (sometimes not even realising it) what do we want to change and what don't we like in ourselves. At the same time, we work as a mirror for somebody else. After what I just wrote I got an idea that the whole life we are copying. By recieving the information from other people, from TV and magasines, we are getting the idea of what is ideal, what is bad, and (in most cases) we are recycling that information and using it to develop ourselves. But we also always feel doubt because different sourses often tell opposite things. We are confused. At that stage some could plobably get that mental health. Others just keep trying to reflect.
Here I got the first idea of developing my project. Mirrors, reflections, protection, people who work as an example, copying - that all brought me to the idea of making kind og a costume or a shield which is going to reflect to surrounding world.
BUT suddenly I remembered that my main thought line was all about the feeling. This idea is not about the feeling of having the disorder at all.
Start over, I must have missed something.
I based my further idea on what people think about others with mental heath, particularly on that picture:
Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden exhibition
This exhibition made a huge impression on me. I've never heard about Marlene before I saw poster in the tube, and from the very first sight I understood that that is exactly what I need for my project. She has a fresh view on human beings, on our nature. All her paintings and collages are full of contrasting or oppositely really smooth colors, which you can never imagine to use to express a person. Faces actually mostly look creepy, but I liked it: I know that mostly she drew famous people or her friends (often using Polaroid shoots which she took when no one saw) and the way she changed their appearances makes you feel a bit frightened but curious at the same time. A lot of portraits she made are not symmetrical and a lot abstract and surrealistic so people in those could be hardly considered as ones who have real prototypes. She also used mixed media so it was easy to understand what did she want to put an accent on. She experimented with ruining paper and ruining drawings by using some solvents or just by scratching, tearing paper, overlaying one drawing on another. Dumas played with persons perception of right and wrong, good and bad: she made 2 drawings of her daughter, but one of them was drawn if there was a black child. Marlene wanted people to realise how many mistakes do they make and how much don't they want to realize those.
She inspired me to create a face symbolizing alter personality, as a part of my final piece to show the human nature, emotions, pain and how much people want to close their eyes on some situations they don't want to deal with.
'Back Drawings', Marlene Dumas, 1991-2
No matter how hard you push and how soft and flexible is fabric you will only see some most outstanding points of face or hand, doesn't matter.
To make it more like a straitjacket I need to use some ropes or belts to tie a person. And if I use it the right way, features of my 'under-fabric' Jewellery would become more obvious.
I made some hand casts in the plaster workshop and used the ready-made face I found in the store to find out what looks better. OBVIOUSLY face!!! I could not even compere. Hand is soo not recognizable under fabric, and both together look too heave, too much going on at the same time. I should drop the idea of both hand and face and concentrate only on face.
I made some sketches and further research on the idea of tention and how something is pushing fabric or cloth from above before short tutorial, and guess what? From now on my work looks too much as a costume and not the way it should be for a person on a Jewellery course. So I obviously have to move away from 'garment' to something less covering. I decided to get rid of fabric at all, because that is the main reason my piece looks like a costume. Now then, as I ain't going to use fabric nothing is going to cover the face. So the 'pushing' from the inside of the body would look completely different from now onwards. Therefore I have to change the material of face too, so it will look more natural. I think if it won't be covered at all it must look like skin, so it should be soft and nude color. Maybe something like resin or latex?
Need to make a face to try this one out. Finally I could start experimenting.
Well, I have bought some latex and now I'm almost ready to start working on a face model. Only need a face now.
I took one face cast from the plaster workshop, but it looks more like it's sleeping. I will use it as a base for my own face, so I gonna build it up with some clay to improve the sleeping man into thescreaming one. So by now the only part I need is theforehead and eyes, because mouth and cheeks will obviously look completely different from what I have. Fortunately I decided not to take the solid ceramic face because even mine 'surface' of the face is sooo hard to break.
Oh, that's because it is made of 2 thick layers of plaster. Why did someone do that?? It takes more time to get rid of the mouth than I thought it will.
I finally finished. Now I only need to recreate a screaming face based on photographs I have found in the internet.
That is really funny to watch that absolute change of emotion! I love it.
I'm lack of clay. Nowhere to get that time, have to wait untill tomorrow..
On the right is the latex sample I made before coming back to Moscow on Easter holidays. It didn't work out really good, I took it out of the form too early and therefore some places were not dry yet, so in the end it started to look like a face of Freddy Krueger. Still I kinda liked it, even the amber color - the natural color of latex. But this is just definitely not what I expected.
Illustrating and developing series of ideas of a straitjacket. Trying to figure out mechanizm of fixing hands in the approximate position of fixing it in real straitjacket. Minimalizing and getting rid of all unimportant deails. Choosing the material.
Goya - The Witches and Old Women Album exhibition
"In this exhibition visitors are invited to discover the private world of Goya's boundless imagination, expressed through visions and nightmares, superstitions, and the problems of old age. Above all, all drawings reveal Goya's penetrating observation of human nature.",- said the broshure. And it really was just like they promised: all paintings and drawings were so visually expressive that everybody got a feeling like witches do really exist in out world.
I decided to visit that exhibition by several reasons. A lot of people who know my theme and my style of working adviced me Goya because "you definitely gonna like him". I also knew that Goya was mentally ill - he was a bit affected by schizofrenia, especially during his last years. That was the main reason I decided to visit the exhibition.
There were only two small rooms, but such a big difference between the works in them. I can't say honestly which one I liked more because I'm a bit doubting, but I had some favourites on the exhibition. I don't know why, but I always liked dark and strange drawings, they make kind of mysterious and magical impression on me. I could just stay and stare on one particular drawing for hours if I really like it. Most of times on exhibitions, in galleries and museums I come back to one painting several times to look at it again and again while I could easily go through lots of other works and didn't even look at them. I always liked that feeling of being spellbound by something so much that you can hardly think about something else.
In addition, I can say that Goya had a special talent to make people believe in unreal things (or they are just seem to be unreal?) by his drawings. All those nightmarical scenes, all withces and hannibals, every little thing seemed for me so fantastically ordinary and common according to our real world. That made me think that actually everything which is said or shown right, no matter if it is true or not, could be taken at face value, and that absolutely everybody could believe in everything.
Wicked Woman (part), Francisco Goya, c1819- 23
Karla gave me that tool to work with leather. Now I could make the holes any size I need. The only problem is that the sizes I need mostly are not sharp enough to punch the leather, so I must find a way to sharpen them.
When I was in Moscow I took special tool for punching eyelets and the eyelets we had too. They were awfully gold and new, and as I nedded something more ugly and old I decided to make them rusty. Actually, it worked cool, but after punching they become more shiny again. I have to find different way.
I've bought some rivets which look like old brass, and I just fall in love with them. The color is absolutely amazing and goes awesome with my concept! And now I need to find similar eyelets.
I spent the whole lesson on quick research and reflection on it, developing my buckles based mostly on old antique ones. I even thought of just tying the belts but that didn't look well so I moved on. I have to work out 4 buckles: on hands, on the neck and 2 on the back. For now I mostly concentrated on the back ones and somehow I started developing ideas of connecting those two belts to each other with only one buckle. But afterwards I realised that then I'd have to create diggerent ones on the neck and hands parts. I didn't want to make something really complicated because I knew that in 3, even 2, days I'm not able to make 4 difficult buckles. Therefore I dropped the idea of 'old looking' buckle and moved to something more specific which would symbolize something connected to the main topic - Dissociative Identity Disorder. I thought of lots of things including syringes and springs (just thought about mattresses in chambers), but all of them were not what I wanted. And finally I ended up with an idea of making simpliest buckle I can imagine - just a hook (sharpen) which will go inside the hole in a belt.
Actually, I could not not mention other idea, like developed idea of hooks: Rony advised me to use padlocks. And that could be actually so awesome! I thought of making only 3 hooks and one special mechanism for the padlock which will go directly on hands. That would symbolize the idea of not just being trapped, but also being locked inside own body by the 'alter'. That thought brought me to the idea of putting one key inside of silicone head (like in The Saw movie) or inside his mouth to show that he is the only one who could let you out, he is actually the only way out.
But, unfortunately, I didn't find any good padlock - I searched for it on different flee markets- so I decided to make only the hooks. They will consist of 3 parts: the hook, The recktangle piece of brass with two holes for rivets, and the special thing to push the belt through so it would be fixed better (no idea how it calls). Afterwards I will color the brass with some antiquing liquid Karla gave me to make a feeling of really old buckles.
Unfortunately, silicone is too hard to work with. I waited a bit less than 2 hours for it to become almost dry byt still not yet and tried to put my hooks inside, but it didn't work out. Silicon was already too solid to get through and cover the whole bottom but at the same time metal was too heavy and started to sink in silicone. Iwasted half an hour on that damn idea before finally dropping it. I should stop being so stubborn.
I marked places where the hooks will be and cut those when silicone finally dried. Other thing I forgot about is that silicone likes only silicone. Even glue is not good enough to fix something on silicone. I'll deal with it, no problemo. Later.
That is just an awful habbit to finish everything the last minute! I've finished my final piece the night before the shoot and the very next morning I broke it! I fixed it as quickly as possible. But it actually worked and I did some good shoots! Yeah, about the shoot. I asked my friend Olga who is a make-up artist to make Veronica look like a real psycho, and that is how ot worked out:
I'm really thankful to have such amazing friends! Olga did exactly what I was asking for.
I did not like any of photographs made by that photographer. And any on the white background at all. Fortunately, I have a really good camera and I guess I kinda am a nice photographer, so I did a shoot on my own. We (I and Rony, my model) were in two different places: first one was the roof of CSM - Helmert was so nice to let us in to make some good shoots; the other one I have accidently found at Archway campus - not the best story of mine, that day toilets were closed on our floor and I was looking for the opened one. So that was an amazing place on the stairs with beautiful window and sun coming through it. I could not resist.
I wanted to take shoots there with my reflector, but I was lucky enough to loose it in the train. That is so me. I must become more responsible.
It was so sunny on the roof so fortunately I took my ND filter, otherwise I would not make any not overexposed shoot.
Choosing the best shoots is always the hardest part for me. Especially if I need to choose only 4 out of about 1500.
People could be really cruel. They are afraid of things they don't understand and the easiest and the best way seems to be just to lock up or get rid of those things and forget about them. Not even trying to undrstand and get along with it.
From now on I started to think about the straitjackets and concentrated mostly on belts which are used to keep their prisoners from any movements and actions. I thought that person with 'DID' who realises that he is obsessed with other personality must feel the same way as those restrained patients: person is trying to get out but something stronger holds him letting him only howling for help. So, now my main idea is idea of tying, being tangled, restricted.
Next step was to connect it more directly to my theme. I have got a person in a straitjacket, but how can I show the mental health? I might start developing an idea of an 'alter' which is trying to get out of the body.
I have found this picture while surfing the Internet and fall in love with it. I realized that that is perfect interpretation of alter ego - someone or something is trying to get out, you feel it, you see it, and you can't help stopping it. Now I need to present it in Jewelry way.
Well, as I decided to concentrate on face, I guess hands would be redundant. Or I should drop the face thing and work with hands?
I guess I better first decide about material.
Make my piece out of some firm material and cover it with fabric? Like straitjacket? Then the piece itself could be more abstract. No one will we it under fabric but they will get the idea of pushing from the body.
Pushing. I could make something not only to tense the fabric but also to push the body of the person who wear this Jewellery piece.
'Reinhardt's Daughter' on the left
'Cupid' on the right
Marlene Dumas, 1994
'The Woman of Algiers', Marlene Dumas
I have finished the face! It looks awesome! Next step is to make an inversion of it so I can make a cast. I tried to work on a surface with the latex I have, but layers are to thick - it comes out too flexible (but still good), I need something more thick and strong.
I don't want it to be a solid piece because I'm a bit afraif that it would be too heavy to wear and to fasten to the construction which I have not designed yet (but that is other issue, I'll work on it later). Basicly, for now the idea is to make a face firm enough to stretch and stitch to my (future) version of a straitjacket.
As my final face was made of the plaster base and 2 different types of clay, I had 3 colors which actually made me doubting a bit if it really is that good or I just cant notice the shortcomings because of the contrasting colors. To make sure, I decidet to completely cover it with black spray paint, and it worked out sooo well.
But then I brought it to the plastic workshop I realised how stupid I was to paint the model right before using the vacuum form machine. And also I did not think at all about the undercuts, so my face got stuck in its plastic form. I could not take it out unharmed, so I had to spend 2 hours to scratch it out carefully part by part, piece by piece! So my very first model was completely ruined, so was the skin on my fingers and under the nails. Workshops and my stupidness bring me too much of pain, I think I just could not work safely.
Fortunately, after all the work I did and all the blood I've lost, I got the inverted form of the face I made (even despite the face itself was completely ruined). Hurray!!! And obviously I decided to cast it firstly in plaster. And obviously I did not think about the undercuts again. And obviously it got stuck in the form onse more. But I was too stubborn to destroy the second piece, so I tried as much as I can to take it out. Lots of people tried to help me, but after several tries they all - tutors, workshop workers, even students - adviced me to break it. But I didn't. I decided first to wait untill tomorrow so plaster would be totally dry, and than to try once more.
I went to KX campus from Archway to take all my stuff, and there my friend Veronica said that if I put it in cold water for some time it would definitely work. So we did it in the classrom. Well, she actually worked with such things before and knew what to do much better than me (I actually knew nothing), and she said that I have to cut the form a bit on the forehead because it is convex and it prevents plaster to get out. I didn't want to, but did I actually have a choice? With Veronicas help we finally released that screaming face with a little damage on the vacuum form which I easily taped at home afterwards.
Whoooooo is back to Moscow? Hell, I am.
No idea how to work in here, this is definitely not the best city and not the best country to work in. And to be in.
Last days in London I decided to move away from latex and use silicone as a main material for the face, because silicone looks much better and more prodessional than latex, plus the texture is smoother and cleaner. The worst trouble now is that I newer actually used silicone and I have no idea how to work with it. Difference between it and latex is that silicone consists of 2 tins: 1kg of rubber and 50g of catalicist. And it is really important to mix it equally or rubber won't dry at all. I'm just a big 19yo troublemaker.
Well, I do already know that latex naturally is amber color, and silicone is white. And, according to the internet, there is no way to colorsilicone with any imaginable and not imaginable paints, because the only thing that could be put on top of silicone is - could it be even more stupid? - of course, silicone. BUT, silicone could be colored while it is still wet. In the shop I asked for nude color, but they had only the basic ones. Seller there told me that I could use ordinary oil paints, and it will be cheaper for me, but (of course) I should be careful with mixing because if I put too much of oil-based colors silicone (surely) won't get dry. Too many problems with something so expencive! There must have been easier way, if something cost more than 20 pounds!!
Can't imagine someone being more stupid than I am. I spoiled half of silicone I had. Maybe even more. Well, internet told me that it dries in one day or more, than WHY THE HELL it dried in just couple of hours??? I only put half of the tin in my form. Well, at least, I have something. And, I guess, I also put less paint than I might, so now my 'something' is ivory but nude. Well, I'll work it out. I hope so. Now I need a better plan of how to deal with silicone. And, as I don't have any more and I have no idea where to buy it in Moscow, I have a looooot of time to design the straitjacket.
I have found some shabby brown betls in the bag with different fabric and other old stuff in moms closet! That would be so awesome to make the straitjacket out of them! Exactly what I was looking for. Even despite I didn't know what I was searching for. Those ones would make my work look more realistic, more psycho, like lots of people have already worn that 'straitjacket'. Now I only need to finish my design.
It didn't work out as I expected. I experiensed two proplems:
1. I did not think about the holes - they are not always in the places where I need them.
2. I have only 4 belts, and it's definitely not enough to finish the whole structure.
And also tutors didn't really like that idea, they'd rather prefer me to buy some leather and work with that one. And also they didn't like that all belts are a bit different from each other. Well, I don't mind making the belts myself but no matter how hard I try I will newer make them look that old. But I guess I have no choice.
Got some black leather. Old leather, hurray! Still it doesn't look that old, but I could work with it. Can't wait to see the result!
The monk, Francisco Goya, c1820-24
SKETCH MODEL MAKING
I don't really like to make sample models before starting to work with final materials, but tutors always ask for that, and that is obviously the right way to work - "what if it doesn-'t work", "what if you decide to change something", "what if you like only 2D version of it", "what if...". But I just prefer not to waste time on doubting and trust my intuition.
As I expected, it worked out just the way I anted. So now I could finally start working with leather.
I have counted a bit and found out that I will need about 420cm of leather belts for the whole piece. I decided to make stripes 3cm wide, because it is not too wide and still covers anough skin.
I also was asked to design my own buckles, and I quet understand that but that is so hard to design something and than make when you have like 3 days on it!! Hurryyy upppp
I love the way it worked! Even despite after soldering antiquing liquid made brass more dark red than dark yellow, but still with all those scratches it looks really awesome!
Now I must continue with silicone head. So strange that I started it before even finalising the design of straitjacket, but I'm finishing it almost after finishing all leather structure. I have bought new tin of silicone and now I shall hunger for couple of weeks, but at least I have stuff to work with. Now I definitely will be more careful and accurate. And I will DEFINITELY use disposable gloves - last time I didn't and I was washing my hand about 1,5 hours to get rid of silicone and it finally was gone only with first layer of my skin.
Ok, 3 hours of work, mixing the colors and experimenting and my face is finally done! Well, almost, cos it still needs to dry. BUT it worked! I did it! Oh wait, it could stay wet if I mixed paints with silicone in wrong propotins.. I'll find it out later, but I hope it's alright.
I also realised that solid piece of silicone would look much better than the hollow one, and as the face would be on the chest, right on the cross of belts, I could put metal 'hooks' for belts to get through directly in silicone while it dries so it will dry with hooks inside.
Song and video of the day:
Failures, disasters, a bit of acting and lots of laugh
WORKING ON THE HEADING IMAGE
I think that the main image should be the most powerful, so I chose one of my favourite ones. One of the diffeculties was my lens - I love it, but it is the portrait one and I could only make close ups when I'm staying too close to the model. Therefore it's called the portrait lence obviously. So for whole shoot I had to make serias of shoots of surrounding things for combining them all in photoshop adfterwatds.
The main shoot for my project must be the sickest one, and I tried to make it as psycho as I could playinf with perspective, colors, vignette, Rony's face, make-up (all these blood spots, bruises, anorexic shadows), and I think it worked quiet well. I'm satisfied with the result.
Combining photos before starting the actual editing.
Song of the day:
“Dissociative Identity Disorder”
Dissociative Identity Disorder, or ‘DID’, is a mental disorder characterized by at
least two personality states that alternately control a person's behavior, leading to
consequences like a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings,
actions, or sense of identity. My final outcome is a combination of feelings and
emotions of a person being trapped in his own body by the ‘alter’, of peoples
attitude to others with mental health, of misunderstanding of what is wrong and
what is right. I made the piece that would make the person who wears it feel what
it’s like to be a ‘psycho’.