It all started with a letter to my deceased father. I’ve experienced it as a huge relief, literally everything I’d ever want
to say I have thrown out. The next step was to share this letter with others.
That turned out to cause some more fears. Fear that people would judge me or would start pointing fingers at me caused some anxious moments. Still, I did it, but in a safe environment. Thanks to a fellow student the letter has even become part of a performance. After the performance, where my letter was used as an audio recording, we went to have dinner all together – performers as well as the visitors. An ideal moment to hear how others felt about my letter. When one of the performers fell into my arms – after recognizing my voice – and told me how grateful she was that I had dared to share this letter, I thought, maybe I should do something with it. This glossy is the end result of the process that has started at that moment.
I started to ask around in my environment if there were people who had a letter to a parent lying around somewhere and who would like to share those with me. After trying and pushing for half a year, I managed to collect
nine additional letters. Some letters are Dutch, some are English. It turned out that translations of the letters did not work well with such personal stories. At the same time, I asked people around me – mostly over 35 years old – what their advice would be to ‘soon-to-be- parents.
Together with the designer we came
up with the idea to ask children if they would like to draw their parents, as illustrations in between the letters. Ten drawings of group 4 and group 6, which change from very loving and cheerful to less pleasing drawings, were added. Also it became clear that children never actually talk about their home situation with each other, so you will understand that there were some surprises. For the internal counselor reason to let the children make a drawing every year. The drawings seem to give a good insight and can possibly help explain changes in behaviour at school.
Maybe a bit too simplistic, but I say:
“I am a product of my parents.” We actually are our DNA plus our ‘social environment’ during the most vulnerable years of our youth; the period of time that we still depend on our parents. As an adult, you have the choice to bring your subconscious psychological processes to the light and to raise awareness, or to let them just be for what they are and live according to those processes. This is what my thesis was about. The series and the cover are self-portraits of what I experience as my ‘inheritance’ from my parents.
“Why a glossy?” you may be wondering. Well, it’s a sensitive subject. There
still seems to be a taboo. A glossy feels lighter than a book. A glossy is to entice you to open it. Therefore, the cover is so important. I myself never read magazines from front to back. I snack a little here and there and if I find it really interesting, I read the whole article. If you as a reader find the letters too confronting, you can just go watch the drawings or read the brief advices. You as a reader can decide how deep you dive into this subject. Therefore, I preferred a glossy. A glossy exterior and vulnerable on the inside, hoping in this case I can tempt you to read something on this subject. As it is part of our human existence, whether you like it or not.
September 21, 2016
Installations, Magazine, Photography, Research, Writing