I remember when I lost my imagination:
standing barefoot on the hot asphalt,
after the final excursion to the North Woods
(Lothlórien, Mossflower, Sherwood?
5 Whatever we had called it).
“It’s just not the same,” my friend said,
and I nodded solemnly.
My younger sister’s face fell.
For her it was still so real
10 that her heart would flutter with fear,
running through the darkening woods from imagined villains.
The next few years would be hard for her.
But I also remember the feeling of those glassy-eyed reveries,
stories hidden in the misty periphery of vision,
15 a fog that would come rolling in,
letting a fantasy play out in its most vivid hues.
Hanging upside down,
from the back of the sofa,
a fairy story unraveling across the strange landscape that was once the ceiling
20 in a retelling, first person omniscient.
The blankness of the characters
like a set of child sized clothes.
Play was tedious at times,
building a tiny, elaborate theater of toys
25 serious and sincere satisfying in its materiality.
The stories still cling to me like burrs,
exposing anxieties, values,
I now explore with new methods of inquiry,
excavating, reinventing through selection and omission,
always with the element of chance and
possibility of diversion.
35 Not childhood recreated,
but an examination of the stories that shaped it,
with the curiosity of play,
with its sincerity and seriousness,
with the scrutiny which would have once dulled the magic.
40 Without the naiveté.
And finally producing an invitation
for others to engage,
to be nostalgic,
45 to be as self-indulgent and as rigorous as child’s play.
After You Read:
By extracting imagery from Occidental narratives and manipulating these quasi-illustrations through printmaking, cut paper, altered books, and animation techniques, I can sustain or suspend themes from their origins, as well as attach new meanings: How will context and medium influence narrative, and what does the result of this process reveal about changing social values or anxieties?
most of these childhood games were based on classic
} literature,with the exception of Star Wars, though still
drawing on the same archetypes and tropes
1."they [children] perceive objects according to their color content... using them as a basis from which to create the interrelated totality of the world of imagination” >
} These nonspecific characters, common in fairytales, allow the reader to place his/herself within the story.
2.“Children want...clear, comprehensible, but not childlike books...Children are perfectly able to appreciate serious matters, even when they seem remote and indigestible, so long as they are sincere.” >
< 3. More on these underlying elements can be found in Maria Tatar’s writing on folk stories
The unexpected behavior of materials, interaction w/other images, the experiences of each viewer, >
all affect the meaning
I research through making,
} re-contextualization of imagery,
analysis of literature
I’m attempting to find methods of producing work that provoke discussion relevant today, picking out themes inherent in traditional stories: i.e. gender, violence, belief
< Research Question
1. Benjamin, Walter, and Michael William. Jennings. "A Child's View of Color" Selected Writings. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 1996. N. pag. Print.
2. Benjamin, Walter, and Michael William. Jennings. "Old Forgotten Children's Books" Selected Writings. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 1996. N. pag. Print.
3. Tatar, Maria. Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print.
Tatar, Maria. "Grimms? Fairy Tales | On Point with Tom Ashbrook." National Public Radio. Trustees of Boston University, 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. .
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf, 1976. Print.