This project addresses the fact that language shapes and defines the way we understand and relate to our own experience. In the English language, we don’t always have the means to express ourselves or put words to what we are feeling. Our vocabulary isn’t as expansive as our experience, and as a result — like children who haven’t started speaking yet — our true experience remains in the unconscious.
I believe that emotions have material consequences and that unconscious and repressed emotions cause us to consume and discard at an unprecedented rate. The internal shape and state of our world directly forms the external world.
As we toss things into the trash and disregard their landfill futures, I would argue that, in this contemporary colonized world, that’s exactly what we’ve done with our emotions — shoved them away, out of sight and out of mind, with the hopes that our ignoring them will help them disappear. We shove them away because we don’t fully understand how they work, what their purpose is, what to do with them, or how they break down.
I would argue that in the same way our world is rupturing with trash as waste overflows and trickles into our streets, waterways, bodies— the same thing is happening to our internal world. Repressed emotions are surfacing, asking to be acknowledged. We are being asked to tend to our internal and external landscapes — addressing the ways we’ve created toxic living environments that are slowly killing us.
Wishing away unwanted emotions and material won’t make them go away. What allows us to deal with these things is turning to face them — acknowledging our most challenging and unwanted emotions and artifacts so that we may begin to create a more honest, intentional, and authentic world.
My project engages with the public in order to create a new ‘language’ so that we can bring our internal experience into the light. This is a language of objects — a language of the collective unconscious. These objects are designed to help us express ourselves even when we don’t have the words to do so. These objects are here to mirror our feelings back to us, allowing us to sit in recognition of them. Relief.
These emblems are made out of found material — assembled from neglected and unwanted bits found on the street, in dumpsters, deep in our drawers, underground. All material is found or being diverted from some kind of waste stream.
The goal is that little by little, as we face our feelings, allow them in, let them pass through us, they — like the trash and earth matter they are made of — can finally begin to break down.
As each feeling passes, the invitation is to offer each Emblem to mycelium. One by one, our feelings decompose in a ritualistic way— we offer them up to slowly disintegrate as we honor them and what they’ve taught us.
Photos from Material Emoting Workshop