“The text, in its mass, is comparable to a sky, at once flat and smooth, deep, without edges and without landmarks; like the soothsayer drawing on it with the tip of his staff an imaginary rectangle wherein to consult, according to certain principles, the flight of birds, the commentator traces through the text certain zones of reading, in order to observe therein the migration of meanings, the outcropping of codes, the passage of citations.” --Roland Barthes Z/S
In this piece, titled “A Person,” I am exploring the internal conflict presented by the desire to be heard while simultaneously experiencing the fear of being heard. I have secured a container in a public location for anyone who sees it to write down personal struggles of this nature and contribute it anonymously. I am continuously interested in the stories of others and how to convey these private and intimate thoughts and experiences in a way that is revelatory, yet protecting some level of anonymity. In choosing what information to reveal and what to keep hidden, I alter or transform the read. Being an author or mediator of personal narratives, I direct the attention of the viewer to certain aspects of the text, creating a new way for it to be read or visualized. I hope to make the viewer not only a consumer, but also a producer of narrative. By taking the text out of its narrative format, my goal is for the viewer to call upon their own experiences, parsing together the words and phrases to make sense of the correlation between the words and the generalized “meaning.”
The anonymity of the text allows a distance from the original author, enabling me to relate to the text as I would to any piece of writing; drawn most to areas or ideas that I find most relatable based on my own set of experiences. These few words are revealed to the viewer, and then re-defined by the accompanying short statement. By including my typed translation of what the individuals have experienced or are experiencing, I give the viewer the version that is most easily understood, as they act as labels to classify human experiences which most people are familiar with.
To present the original object behind the glass, which reveals a form of truth and detail, but only reveal a few descriptive words, which are accompanied by the concrete, matter-of-fact translation or the “take-away,” the viewer is lef to contemplate how these words make sense together and to find curiosity in the original.
The translation of each experience begins with the original narrative of the initial author, to myself as the mediator, and ultimately, becomes a new experience in the final translation, which can only be produced within and by the viewer.