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The most interesting and powerful emotions happened before we had words to put them in. Language makes things less terrifying, more rational, less sublime. Language elevates us to an understanding of the whole, away from the animalistic urgency of moments. Art can be reverse psychoanalysis, take away the rationality and comforting explanations and find the wordless something.
My piece is about a moment as a child when you grab your parent’s leg, only to look up and see a stranger. It’s about irrational fear, and how much more terrible it can be than anything else. It’s also about strangeness, and fear of the unknown, and everything flipping around all of a sudden. Also how everybody seems to have forgotten how scary it was to be a kid.
Once, when I was a kid, my grandparents took me to church with them. I remember the solemnity and the strangeness, and how frightening the crucifixes and mysterious churchly implements were to me. So my piece is also about how weird churches are, and how disconcerting and overwhelming it is when everybody else is really into something you don’t understand.
The piece is these moments from my own life, and also all the moments from the viewer’s life that happen like little electrical shocks where we touch something primal and overwhelmingly strange. The important thing is that the substance of the piece is the solitary experience of the viewer, and the work is the shell that contains it.
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Wiles, Janet, "Untitled" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 352.
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