My art finals project. The theme was “Presentation”.
To present, represent, introduce. I decided to link the theme to another one : people. The person, a person. People.
How do you represent people ? How do you represent them the best way ? Is there a way to represent people in their whole ?
My project illustrates one person, but aims for the notion of person. People generally. That’s why even if I tried to keep my model’s anonymity, the personality still filters through. Because there is no such thing as a bland and empty person on this planet. Everybody is unique, and whatever you’ll do, there will always be something that makes you’re different from another person.
So, if you think about anybody now, what comes first when you start with “Let me introduce you…” ?
My first point is : words. This is a biography, where I blackened the parts that could compromise the anonymity too much. When trying to represent someone, I think the most common way to do it is with words. It’s pretty reachable : almost anybody can use words to describe someone, even the simplest words. But how can you transcribe someone’s appearance and mind, only using words ? Have you ever had moments when you had something on your mind, but when trying to spit it out, words wouldn’t completely describe what you thought ? I think that even if you had enough vocabulary, as precise as it could get, there would still be a moment when something’s missing between what you say and what you thought. Hence, how could you manage to entirely put a person in words if you can’t even do it with your own mind ?
My second point is : appearance and actions. Hands are a symbol of what you make and do, but they’re also part of your anatomy.
After words, what you may think of is images, pictures of the person I asked you to try to introduce. You may think of that person’s face, body, but also what you saw them doing, what you know they made. Unfortunately with appearance, you only have one side of someone’s entirety. As for actions : the thing missing is the content of their minds. Representing someone only with pictures would be incomplete.
My third point is : possessions. There is some kind of transition from the second to third point with the watch and rings on the hand. If you made a list of all the thing someone owns, you would probably realise it tells a lot : where is that person from ? What kind of things does that person like ? are only few of the questions you could answer.
But all those means have their weaknesses.
Finally, the last frame is my answer. It cannot be materialized, that’s why my page is blank.
I personally think the best way to present somebody would be using their personal identity. But what is personal identity ? It’s a philosophical concept saying that you sure may have several identities : sexual, cultural, juridical, religious etc. but these identities may change through time. You can emigrate, dye your hair, change your gender, your faith for instance. People sure change with time, but there is something that never changes, and it’s their personal identity. It’s the fact that someone is able to contemplate what’s been accomplished and think “I did this. I made this happen”. It’s the inside feeling that gives someone the ability to consider themselves as a single and same person through time. Going though changes but still knowing it’s the same “I” in “I made this” or “I‘m thinking this” every time. It’s a feeling that affects only you and yourself. I will never know how it feels to be you, because I am not you. That’s why my answer is also incomplete : there is a way to represent someone’s whole, but it cannot be materialized.
Ninon P. / Mixed media on paper - 2013.