Say It Three Times
archival inkjet photos, bees, cinnamon in shadowbox
I gather objects to learn not just about my environment, but to learn a history that is unknown to me; a history that will never be known to me; a history that is invented. A common element of familial histories is tradition. In my perception, tradition and ritual are interlocked. Ritual is a means of elevating the importance of simple gestures and observations. One’s senses are heightened, and actions are pared down to only those most vital. Every decision in ritual is imbued with an intent. I use ritual in my art as both a working method, and a subject of exploration. What rituals are a part of my life? What traditions have I inherited, adopted, or invented? I believe in intuition, that knowledge will be psychically gathered where facts fail or are lost. My history travels through my veins, even though I can’t read it. It communicates through the act of collecting, an act that I cannot always interpret with logic.
I may not know the stories of my ancestors, but I know historically what the women of my family did in their daily lives. I question why the nature of their work became associated with inferiority. Are the duties termed “women’s work” intrinsically less important? Or was that stigma applied in the face of their subjugation to that role? Collecting can be distilled to observing. Birds at my feeder, trees I grew up with never knowing their names, fruits I never tasted, cycles and seasons I depend on are all part of these observations. I bring all of these things together in my personal alchemy in hope of creating order, understanding, and magic in the mundane.
© Bridget Conn