Samantha Wall MFA Visual Studies 2011
Shame on Me
Feelings, drives, compulsions, desires—these forces determine how we position ourselves in the world and construct interpersonal bonds. But beneath these perceptible experiences, however, lies another force that compels and motivates human experience: affects. Affects are among the psychological engines that drive our unconscious mind. We drift through the currents of affects such as interest, anger or fear. Whether enhancing the enjoyment of a particular song or intensifying the pain of personal failure, each discrete affect gives poignancy to an experience and contributes to the sum of our personality.
Shame is the most influential of all the affects because it demands that we truly confront ourselves—not a projection of who we wish to be, but our essential selves, the elusive peas hidden beneath layers of our subconscious mattresses. Invisible but still perceptible, shame shapes identity by continually colliding against the boundaries that surround it. These moments have the potential to be revelatory, a glimpse into the opacity of the unconscious mind, but instead act as internal sanctions that stoke our fears and reinforce societal taboos. My goal is to mine the nature of shame as experienced through my own body and to shed light on the internal struggles that occur within the shadow of one’s psyche.