An exploration of individuality
Chronologically, with much reflection along the way, there’s a spectrum of individuality laid out within these pages. From having no inkling of self at all, to seeing yourself as the center of the universe, some additional viewpoints in-between, and then thinking more humbly of yourself again. All via only one simple word, in five different languages. And to start where I started, a small lesson in Dutch, my first language: ‘je’ means ‘you’.
The A3 size pages are made out of fabric and the lettering is done using the (half) cross stitch embroidery technique. Together these things – size, material and technique – necessitate careful handling and encourage extra thought.
Behind the scenes
Going into art school, I was very much a handicraft person. On the textile side of things. Sewing, knitting, knotting, patchwork and embroidery were my trusty go-to’s. But not for long! Because, one of the first things you learn in foundation year is to appropriate your visual language to the content – Marshall McLuhan’s famous “The medium is the message”.
So, content first. And in order to gauge if people would grasp its meaning, I circulated this early prototype among my classmates, family and friends.
One by one they flipped trough, quickly and dismissively. Not what I was aiming for, at all. But how to counteract it?
Embroidery? Check, check, double-check. Yes, despite, by that time, any textile notion raising a mental red flag, it's the right technique here. Big fabric pages prohibit hurried handling. Plus, I personally think that time and intricate effort put in have a reciprocal effect.