This final piece explores the issue of UK poverty, using chains as a metaphor for barriers and imprisonment. The piece is made from the stain fabric tubes, used in an earlier post.
Poverty is an invisible shackle preventing people from achieving their full potential. The causes of poverty are often a circular collection of circumstances - i.e. you can’t get a job because you haven’t got the experience, but of course no one will employ or train you to get the experience.
This piece is inspired by the fantasy and reality of film, where the chaos on the screen is in contrast to the order behind the camera.
This collection of 12 tubes inspired by Tampax forms, are made from the dyed bandages seen in a previous post. The graphic lines take inspiration from Block II, with artists Ashokkumar D Mistry and Karen Wood.
I had a discussion with Fran about our mutual enjoyment of disaster films. A good film will transport you into another world, however although the final effect is realistic on screen, in reality it is only a stage set filled with prop and actors. Disaster films offer romantic escapism from everyday tribulations. In Greek tragedy theory, it is thought that the intense emotional experience, acts as an inoculation for the horror of real life.
My pieces today use blood in a more banal way – stained sanitary wear. The pads were handmade from absorbent materials, stained and stitched.
The work is inspired by the typical advertising of sanitary towels, which removes the actual reality of menstruation by replacing the blood with a blue liquid. However a recent campaign by Bodyform, has started to break this taboo by depicting menstrual blood realistically for the first time.
n the UK sanitary products are considered luxury items and charged at 5% VAT...as you don’t need to avoid getting covered in your own blood. Ironically through, Jaffa cakes are considered essential and are zero tax rated.
For those experiencing period poverty, removing the 5% VAT of sanitary products, would do little to ease the financial burden. With sanitary products costing an average of £2 – the real issue is there are women in the UK, who are so poor they cannot spare a couple of pounds every month. It is easier for the media and society to talk about homeless or food banks, but menstruation remains an issue shrouded by social taboo. Period poverty is really just poverty; however women are affected disproportionately more due to their biological make-up.
In a society based on capitalist principles, with the ever increasing divide between the rich and the poor, there is something wrong with our system. Capitalism benefits some, at the expense of others. In a democratic society the systems in place should benefit everyone.
‘The steel penises of our oppressors’ is a quote taken from the book, We Go Out by Miriam and Ezra Elia. The photograph taken at Canary Wharf is a comment on the phallic nature of power, with the anti-capitalist/capitalist tampon mimicking the forms of the tower blocks.
Discussing with Rosina ideas around imagination, creating tangible links between our ideas and suggesting research ideas. Rosina suggested looking into collections of shipwrecked objects, specifically those in museum collections such as the V&A. Damien Hirst's recent show/ documentary sprung to mind and whilst thinking about objects documented in video format with a specific narrative - The Poseidon Adventured (1972 version) popped into my head,a v. dramatic disaster movie which I am a big fan of. Here, a still from the capsize scene.
Despite the UK being a modern society, there is still much embarrassment around menstruation, with many women feeling the need to hide sanitary products. While blood is often seen as a sign of illness or death, however menstrual blood shows the capability to make life. Perhaps we have this repulsion as periods are messy, with anything connected to women viewed as weak or negative.
Period prejudice goes back a long way. Ironically the ancient Greeks had a more positive attitude to menstruation, and used it in both medicine and also as a fertiliser as it is rich in nitrogen. The idea of women becoming unclean during their period began in the Old Testament, which states anyone touching a menstruating woman will be polluted until evening.
These images consider the physical act of menstruation. A doll was wrapped in bandages – a pad filled with ink was allowed to leach and spread through the fabric, before being unwrapped and stitched.
These images use ideas from Fran’s work – the hyper real blue sky of the digital image contrasted with the reality of the British weather.
I was also inspired by the work of Block VII artists, Benjamin Hartley and James Aldridge, and the chance discovery of objects found during a country walk. On my walk I found a collection of burnt, discarded newspapers. I photographed the doll amongst them, represent how certain groups, have literally been thrown away by society.
The final four images are inspired by Fran’s research into the Ophelia passage in Hamlet (where she is found drowned). The photographs taken by the river explore isolation. Many of the images are left faceless, to leave her mood and identity a complete mystery.
These stitched samples, are a continuation of my earlier experiments on staining. The discs are made from a range of fabric (1-soft brushed cotton, 2-fine cotton over wadding, 3-thick wool, 4-household linen), stained with silk paints. I was planning to make the forms into a sanitary towel shape, but really like the circular pads – they seem to combine femininity, with the harsh reality of the blood.
The fabrics were prepared a few days before – but have an uncanny resemblance to a recent post by Block VII artists, Benjamin Hartley and James Aldridge.
Looking at objects that exist in a physical presence today, not those that exist as imagination - imagination an idea from Rosina - moving cyclically between real/ digital / imagined / reproduced
Object from BMAGs collection