Yesterday I said I'd post a few more Paper Towel (sc)Roll pics. If you haven't seen other images I've posted, click here and here.
Here's a very quick write-up about the (sc)Roll:
Sartre wrote, 'We are all condemned to freedom'. I think about this concept often. Our physical and mental selves experience many different levels of both freedom and bondage. Society dictates not only guidelines for what’s right and wrong, but determines how we view gender differences as well as our relative ages: infant and childhood; adolescence; adulthood; middle age; and geriatric- often the conditions of our bodies in no way reflect how we identify with our inner selves. The freedom to which Sartre was referring- the lonely freedom that only our innermost selves are privy- is nothing more than our individual sets of dreams, memories and desires, compiled by the particular make-ups of chemicals and electricity found in each of our human bodies.
The Paper Towel (sc)Roll is a visual record of some of the memories that make-up my identity. Many of my memories- from my earliest to my most recent- happen to be sexual. Growing up, I felt that many of the ways I thought about sex were unusual- often, there was cross-over between my fantasies and pop-culture images, as well as a desire to stray from the social constuct of what is 'normal'. An exploration of this as an adult feels imperative.
The ways I perceive my body, the violence done against me as well as violence I’ve only imagined doing to other people, and finally, the cross-over between fantasy and reality, have all given me a wealth of what I call ‘ghost images’- mental pictures that come back to haunt me. These ‘pictures’ consist of both real and pseudo-images (the latter being fantasies that have been retained so long in my memory that it is hard to untangle them from truth). I've embroidered some of these images over my (sc)Roll. In addition to my ghost images, I’ve embroidered fragments from photographs and drawings of some of the places I’ve lived, as well as images I appropriated from pop culture, to layout a non-linear map that one may use to help navigate the most private parts of my person. Images such as a woman masturbating are combined with childhood figures such as My Little Pony and The Last Unicorn. This may be disturbing to some, and yet, with research telling us that over 80% of children pretend to be animals, and with around the same number of children participating in some sort of sex-play, it isn't unlikely that there would be some playful mental crossover. I vividly remember, as a very young child, fantasizing about the centaurs in the Disney film Fantasia- those frolicking, half-naked creatures definitely entered some of my secret imaginary play!
In the (sc)Roll I also explore the blurred line between victim and willing participant (a line that doesn't necessary become less blurred as one enters adulthood).
Using a medium most often used to clean up messes, I made the Paper Towel sc(roll) as a tool with which to metaphorically wipe up some of the mental messes of my life. This is an ongoing, extensive project that I believe will help me to cut through some of my more painful, confusing memories, in order to celebrate my many joyful memories and dreams. In this way, I hope to enjoy my relative ‘freedom’.
I am Melissa Banigan. I've been many things under the sun, but am currently a single mom raising an amazing kid in Brooklyn, writing novels and short stories, and working on some art (canvases and paper). I also, under the moniker melifera, produce off-the-cusp embroidered clothing and bags.