Where does your breath go after it leaves you?
Does part of it go into me?
various works, 2018
white fabric, staples, paint, jars, leaf dust, mat, table, chair, bowl, hollowed eggs
Cocoon, Entomb: Kathleen Durkin
Holding Gazes: Catalina Hernandez
Leaf Dust: Kaitlin Fox, Leah Wilks
There are tensions in fear and safety, in vulnerability and protection and in the allusions of all four of these (seemingly opposed) states.
As a child I had night terrors, disturbing daydreams, and a deep fear of the dark. Sleep was really hard for me. I had a sense of logic, but also knew that I needed things, even if they were illogical. The covers needed to be pulled over my head, because this always felt safer. This action was a way of coping with overwhelming fear, even if it was irrational.
In Cocoon, Entomb there is a person covering themselves. They are hiding and yet, have not removed themselves from the space. You can still see them, and they still know that you are here, but the way that they are here with you has now changed. Is this new state one that is filled with more fear or more protection? or coping? This is also a cocoon or a womb: a place of becoming, transformation, and transition. Is this a place where life is continued or reborn? This is also an embalming: a ritual that happens of the dead. When one is mummified their body is embalmed. This is an act that is for their body, but is also an act for the bodies left behind.
This figure holds your eyes and will not drop this gaze until you do.
What happens when looking occurs two-directionally? When I look at you and you look at me: two positions of looking that are in simultaneous. I wonder how this relationship changes over the time that it is held. Does a shift of power happen? Does it begin as confrontation and shift to a releasing, offering, or surrendering of vulnerability? How can things that seem different exist next to one another?
Can these tensions be held in, with, or charged into an object? And what happens when this object symbolizes both a protection of and also an absence of life? This object is fragile and ethereal. Even when it is whole is references its own breaking.
When our gaze and tension are held they are all-the-while channeled into an object. As the gaze is broken, the tension is released through the change of the object's form. This action is symbolic of pain and brokenness, but also has a new type of power. It whispers and shatters a crystal sound as it falls to the concrete.
What does it mean to offer a space for the gaze to be held between two bodies that are dying and are also alive?
There is a relationship here between three figures: a lying figure, a circling figure, and the leaf dust with their jars. The lying figure begins motionless on a white mat. The second figure picks up jars filled with leaf dust and scatters it slowly forming a growing circle that spirals its way outward. As jars are emptied they are handed to viewers to care for. When the leaf dust circle grows big enough to touch the lying figure, the circling figure rests to sit across from them, fixing their attention upon them. After some time, the circling figure traverses the dust, uncurls the lying figure and drags them backwards through the dust. When both have come out the other side they both rise and begin to sweep up the dust onto the white mat. Once it has all been collected, the lying and circling figure pick up the mat, walk through the door, down the hallway, and return the dust to the sky.