Immoveable Tableau
4X5 Large Format/ digital

Statement

                Our protective instincts lie beneath us like memorized road maps. These compulsions thrust us into feelings and actions we may not understand until after experience.  When I look back to my childhood I see myself continually searching for security and stability. I found a great deal of my so-called protection within a blanket. Everywhere I went, I would drag that cameo-pink cloth behind my heels. I remember waking up strangled by the hole I punched through the middle from pulling the fabric taut over my head.
               This pink piece of material was my sense of security, a false one at that. Today these memories reveal an endearing yet naive innocence. A blanket cannot halt the darkness, cure the fear of strange taps on my window or keep the sandman from sending me into dreams I always believed to be so close to reality. In my youth I suffered distinct night terrors that mirror hauntings of recent recollections. As time passed I grew, I made mistakes, I won awards, I broke bones and I put my blanket away.
                With this project I aimed to visually claim my environment. To essentially pull my head out from where I’d been hiding and state my existence.  To create this work I hand sewed two different flags out of shades of pink satin. I found wood for the flagpole and wove small stitches into the fabric . After pouring so much time into this object I began to feel an attachment to the flag similar to my children’s blanket. Seven weeks passed and on the eighth I was working tirelessly to create the photographs I envisioned. All of my hours became devoted to this flag. I couldn’t stop. Towards the end of the project the flag fell into the Savannah River. I sat for a while and watched in an exhausted stupor. As I looked on, the material began to wave through the current just as if it were in the wind. It did not seem to drown as one may have expected. I smiled for this end brought on a new beginning.
            The physical act of digging holes, hauling weights and fighting against the wind reinforced my feelings of assertion. Now left with dirty hands and a seasoned pair of eyes, I’m not done.


---tem