The Display of the Self, 2019
Fabric, PVC frame, LED lights, sound and movement sensors
30 x 30 x 70”

This project explores how to talk about body shame publicly and how to retain the fluidity and multiplicity of one’s identity under the categorizing gaze of the Other. I address the following questions: How can changing the visibility of one’s body in physical space affect body shame and resist categorization? How can a body be vulnerable yet protected in public space? Or hidden yet visible?

I create a wearable structure that veils the wearer completely and displays the wearer’s body as fragmented shadows on its surface, allowing a wearer to conceal and reveal simultaneously; the shadows at once intimately emphasize the presence of the wearer’s body yet prevent onlookers from knowing exactly what the wearer looks like. Because the appearance of the body cannot be known and can only be imagined through the shadows, which are changing with every movement of the body, the identity of the wearer cannot be clearly categorized.

In my performance, I speak about parts of my body that I’ve been told were abnormal at different stages of my life and how my appearance is a facade belying the constant work of making sure those abnormalities do not surface. By speaking about this through the suit, I present my identity as something that is fluid but constantly pushed to fit certain normative molds.

Project advisor: Krzysztof Wodiczko

Mark
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