Blog #4A Persona/Shadow
This week we investigate persona, our social role as the appearance one presents to the world. Personal is with what we most identify but have you ever watched yourself walk into a room through the eyes of others? When we see our persona from the outside with how others see us a new identifying shapes from how we are seen and how others respond to us. We explored marking through these personas with a couple of techniques that highlighted the object/subject split. We first did touch printing using both hands at the same time to print with our fingers and hands by touching the surface of a paper laid on an inked plate. The intention was to sense the face and body of our person, not depicting or representing but rather getting in touch with it, literally and figuratively. One more sentence on results.
Our meditation was from David Whyte, Consolations-Shadow
Shadow does not exist by itself, it is cast, by a real physical body…it is shaped by presence; presence comes a priori to our flaws and absences. To change the shape of ourselves is to change the shape of the shadow we cast… Shadow is a necessary consequence of being in a sun lit visible world, but it is not a central identity, or a power waiting to overwhelm us.
To live with our shadow is to understand how human beings live at a frontier between light and dark; and to approach the central difficulty, that there is no possibility of a lighted perfection in this life; that the attempt to create it is often the attempt to be held unaccountable…
We cannot talk about persona without talking about this shadow, that aspect of ourselves that we can easily see in others but with which we do not often identify. This includes the bright shadow or that brilliant and whole part of us that is often projected onto others or into the future but which we do not embrace in the now.
We used printing masks to explore the shadow self and in preparation we looked at our literal shadow projected on a wall or floor with a strong light behind us. We took photos of different attitudes and postures, especially those we usually do not show to others. From these photos we made drawings the size of the printed paper which we cut out to create a mask, an area that blocks the ink when laid on the inked plate. We went with larger shapes with no ink so we could print over or into with touch markings. Following are some of the pieces from the group’s printing of touch-marking and shadow printing.