MY BEST SELF, May 18, 2022 - June 20, 2022
My Best Self is an installation that situated participants in an obscure landscape of collapsing bodies, shifting temporalities, and a polluted atmosphere to simulate the complexities of childhood trauma and reconciliation. The installation, exhibited at The Soil Factory, Ithaca, NY, materializes as a habitat for creatures of steel, silicone, plastic, children’s bedding, and other materials of significance. When visitors enter the warehouse, fog, light, and sound sensorily isolate and encourage private discovery of the foreign landscape. Once an individual crosses the 30 sq ft sandbox’s threshold, earth shifting underneath weight, marking presence- their transformed scale may access and connect the bodily memory of childhood to the present. As if learning to walk for the first time, participants tread cautiously. But the increasingly imprinted terrain consequently permits continued touch towards the creatures inhabiting it to the effect of facilitating intimate engagement and dissolution of ontological boundaries. Yet, though the space harbors opportunities for vulnerable relations, it simultaneously resists them by utilizing aesthetics of the defensive, monstrous, and abject. Ultimately, the installation foregrounds the confrontation of endless contradiction in hopes of locating a more sincere embodiment of trauma recovery.
Photography by the artist Sabrina Haertig Gonzalez and architect Alexander Arebalo. Generously funded by Cornell University scholarship. Special thanks to The Soil Factory, RAND shop, and peers for aiding in fabrication and installation. Live sound generated by artist Eastwood Liu.