I tend to park rework of all assignments until I’m near the end of the entire course. I’m reminded of my daughter’s honest reply when asked if she had practised her guitar: “I did, but only in my head”. I like to have a clear head for rework and also the motivation to get it done.
Thinking about my assignments, Assignment 1 “Two sides of the story” will not be reworked. This is not for want of trying – there was a sequence of attempts involving photograms of net curtains documented on the blog. In retrospect these were more of a prequel to Assignment 5 (and invaluable as such) rather than a sequel to Assignment 1. I do however need to write about my tutor feedback and subsequent attempts at rework, and to read a book that he suggested and document that. Assignment 2 – the fairies – is slightly unusual in that I have already decided to present it as a Viewmaster and disk, and this is already done (I will submit square prints too). I need to follow up my tutor’s comments and write a blog post including more emphasis on the feminist aspect of the work. Assignment 3, Self Portrait, requires me to think about how I will submit this work and this is the one currently vexing me. There needs to be some new text too. Assignment 4, the essay, is largely done bar a bit of tidying. I need to write a full response to the feedback as it enabled me to improve the work significantly. I have decided to submit the essay on paper rather than via my blog as this allows me to include several relevant images without risking running foul of copyright law. Assignment 5 has not yet been submitted to my tutor so I don’t yet know what the rework will be.
So, onto the second part of this blog post. During my studies to date I have made work about pregnancy tests and miscarriage. I have taken selfies on every day of my menstrual cycle and layered those images with intimate details from a period tracker app. I have photographed my toilet bowl and my dirty dishes by torchlight. I have made photograms of underwear – both my own, and strangers, bought via ebay. I really ought to be beyond embarrassment. And yet.
I’ve been thinking for a while of folding one of my A3 self portraits into a simple fold out book and cutting front and back covers from a Tampax box. I’ve made a mock up today and somehow it feels like a line has been crossed; even though I’ve shared far more intimate and private matters in the past. Tampax boxes are mass produced and found in millions of homes so not exactly unknown or unfamiliar. Bookending my self portrait literally within a tampon box shows how my last few years have been circumscribed and defined by my hormones, living with the cost, the pain, the uncertainty, the extra laundry, the hideous pmt…. the knowledge that every single tampon in that box was part of 25% of my time that was rather less great than it could have been. I’m a long way from being alone with these problems. It might be uncomfortable for others to view and read, but I hope that as many people will be nodding in empathy as will be squirming uncomfortably and (quite understandably) moving on to the next blog in their reader.
However, Judy Chicago would never have made “Red Flag” with this kind of attitude. Working on the basis that anything this uncomfortable needs to be investigated, even if it results in my simply submitting some plain vanilla square prints for assessment in a discreet folder, I present, my mock up. It has one crease too many, one chamfered edge too many, probably isn’t the print that I will use and isn’t properly flattened.