Portable Space: "The Introvert"
Wooden box, Wool, Black feathers, Ribbon roses. 2014.
My portable space, titled The Introvert, is based on the theme of cultural ideology, and my focus is on introverts. Introverts are those who like to stay inside their own “bubbles” to avoid too much interaction with outside world, but instead they prefer to be engaged in their own world. This portable space is held in a small size antique case, to show the tiny world where the introverts stay. When the case is half-opened, one can see there lies a needle-felted imaginary mouse-like fluffy white creature with long and haired tail, sleeping under a cage, the barrier between the outside world and his inside world. The little creature, which represents an introvert, is surrounded by black feathers and tiny pink man-made ribbon roses, the private world enjoyed by him alone. But when the case is totally opened, the cage lid will suddenly flip up, and the creature inside the case will be fully shown. Meanwhile, on the inner side of the upper part of the case, decorated with tiny roses, held by a small cloud of wool, a sign says “Shhh…”that reminds people even they get into an introvert’s world, they should still try to keep quiet and not to bother the introvert too much.
The cage is connected with short threads that are nailed on the inner side of the upper part of the cage, so when the case is fully opened, the cage can be lifted up by the short threads in a second, while it remains covering the lower part of the case if the case is just half-opened. When I was working on the cage part, at first I was pretty frustrated since I did not know how to make this plan come true. But Professor Guthrie, also the person who inspired me to create a mechanically movable cage as a symbol of barrier to strengthen the theme, offered me much help such as showing me how to install the cage, and how to nail down the nails to hold the threads which can lift up the cage when the case is opened.
As mentioned before, the cage is the symbol for the barrier between an introvert’s own world and the outside world. When the case which represents the bubble that protects introvert from the outside world, is half-opened, the cage will remain there covering the lower part. It is as if the last barrier of the introverts when the bubble that keeps them from outside is broken. And then, when the case is all opened, the cage is lifted up, meaning that the barrier is moved away, now the introverted sleeping creature in the case is fully exposed to the outside world. However, as one opened up the case, a sign attached on the upper part of the case can be seen, saying “Shhh…” like a warning to those who want to wake up the sleeping mouse creature in the case, the introvert engaged in his own world.
The needle-felted mouse sleeping in the case, as stated, is the figure of an introvert. He is lying in the bed of black feathers and lovely red roses, which consist of his silent, peaceful and secret inner world. The light white color of the mouse, his surrounding of black feathers and the dark brown case create a good contrast which can help viewers pay better attention to the figure, the introvert, itself. Introverts, regarded as “unsocial” and “shy”, are often neglected among a group of people. Sometimes, they feel left out, but this case, the high contrast of white and dark, catches attention and makes the viewers to rethink about introverts.
The reason why I chose introvert as my theme under the topic of cultural ideology is because I myself am an introvert as well. As described above, I like to live inside my own bubble and try to avoid too much social interaction with people, which exhausts me a lot. However, because of the avoidance of socializing, I am often ignored by people, isolated and alienated. Paradoxically, when too many people want to get close to me, breaking the bubble and the barrier between my own world and the outside world, I will again feel exhausted and terrified, which means I yet need quiet and a certain room to stay alone. Thus, I want this case to raise attention of people to the introverts, to let them know what introverts are like, and how one should react when breaking into an introvert’s world.
Overall, this portable space has some weaknesses, but also strengths. The weaknesses are also my concerns that appeared during the whole process of setting up the case. After all, the focus of introvert and even the general topic of cultural ideology, are much subjective, and ideological which means it is hard to be materialized and be understood by viewers immediately. It requires viewers a certain amount of time to look at the case, to reflect and interpret. My design and ideas might not be accepted by some of the viewers, making them confused of the relationship between a needle-felted mouse in a case and the introverts. Had I had another chance to improve the case, I might try to be more specific, think about more complicated design to fill the case, and probably I should use a larger case so I can have more space for the design.
As for the strengths, personally I am quite satisfied with the needle-felted mouse I made, since it is the first needle-felting craft I have ever done. I got much positive response from my classmates and instructors about the realism of this needle-felted creature. Also I feel really good about the mechanical movable cage, which was done through the help from Professor Guthrie. After his instruction I finished the rest of the cage by myself. Although it was time-consuming, I improved my crafting skill such as using a wire cutter to cut off tough nails and nailing them down into the small case with a huge hammer. Working was tiring, yet I am relieved and pleased to look at this tiny but delicately decorated portable space made on my own, after taking much effort and spending a long time.
03. 2014 TachibanaMew
03. 2014 TachibanaMew