Inner Thoughts as a Bamboo Forest
View of Bamboo Installation at “Vulnerable” by Marianne Slevin at The Secret Gallery October 2012
One of the rooms in the exhibition “Vulnerable” was this bamboo installation with text and the sound of a hidden Tibetan singing bowl. On every leaf I wrote one thought about myself that I found hard to say, they are my own suppressed feelings, growing up as a woman in Ireland. I had started my research for this work far away, both in time and physical distance, but in the end I had to look at myself, my own vulnerabilities. The biggest mistake I could make in presenting work about the mistreatment of women in other cultures would be to not look at my own culture and inevitably myself.
In order to be happy, humans have a built in bias toward what they are and do being better than others. I think we have this bias culturally as well as individually. Maybe if we are aware that this bias exists occasionally we can peer around its veil and see we are no better (or worse) than anyone else or any other culture.
What I found surprising was that my own suppressed thoughts and feelings were not just my own, but in many cases they were shared by other, and when I exposed myself in this light I found that others were quick to share their own inner feelings in return. It was a kind of fast forward exercise in honesty and sharing with others what you may only share with those close to you or maybe nobody at all.
There is so often an unrealistic striving for perfection in society which leaves us feeling unworthy and simply not good enough, this effects everything from aesthetics to emotions. We try to make sense and order out of just about anything! I wanted to make some work that made people feel good, by allowing people to see a glimpse of my own vulnerability. Maybe seeing it visually described brings home the enormity of the stuff we feel we have to carry around with us all the time, and perhaps it is so common that is should no longer be a weight on us.