Good late night, all.
The hour of the reckoning is upon us – 6 hours until the actual deadline at the moment I’m writing this post up and let me tell you – the stress is real. I am struggling to even pull a single sentence out of my mind, let alone a cohesive block of text that would perfectly illustrate what I have come up with for my project as well as describing/explaining the final pieces that I was able to create. At this point in time, I have fulfilled most of my vision, however, not quite as much as I wish I could have done. The process was tedious and I took a lot of risks, the most detrimental of which was working with mediums that I had never tried out before this module – sewing and everything that goes into it (developing a pattern, pulling it all together), customizing a box, working with latex, bookbinding, animation and some other! Overall I feel like this module has so far been the most beneficial and enjoyable module, but I’ll leave the rest of what’s on my mind for the evaluation. Without further ado, let’s get onto the actual thesis of the project!
Before I start – here is the link to a post where all of my development lies. Here you can see how the concept developed and changed over time. Additionally, here is the link to all my workshop content for this module. (10 Panel, Bookbinding, Zine, Gif)
Today I was able to finish my main part of the project, which is the box which contains the demon that is dermatillomania.
The box itself is a shell. It is meant to represent my head – the outside being the skin that is wrapped around it and the inside – what lays within, both in a literal and figurative sense. Both are decorated with latex, but are handled differently for the sake of providing a different feel to the different sections. The outer layer is covered with talcum powder – which prevents latex from sticking as well as providing it with a smooth and matte feel – thus becoming a sort of faux skin. The inside I decided not to coat with anything as a) the materials needed would simply not have arrived on time and b) it makes more sense for me to leave it sticky, feel gross and be more repulsive as a result. The mirror stuck on the inside of the lid of the box is my view through my eyes, it is my only means of self-perception. Only whilst looking into it can I really see what I actually look like. Also installed into the box through the means of customization is a replica of my face which is what I envision myself to look like when not looking at my own reflection. In addition to that, it works as the foundation of how I envision my skin to look like when I have no visual reference to it, these stages of skin are represented by masks:
The masks are both interchangeable and stackable, the order that they are showcased in the picture above depicts the progression of the deterioration of skin as it goes on. The first mask has a single, barely-noticeable imperfection, whereas the final mask has overly-exaggerated spots, bumps and craters all over – this is meant to represent how one spot is really all it takes for someone with dermatillomania to go on an extensive and intense rampage on their faces.
Another item which is present in the box is a plush which is meant to fulfil the function of relieving stress – a stress ball if you will. It’s squeezable, interactive and does everything a stress toy should do – keeps the user busy by making them fidget with its features. The plush was quite a challenge to design and later turn into an actual object, but alas, it is complete! (Click here for the full process post)
The plush is meant to encapsulate the fact that for the longest time, “my face” was essentially synonymous with “stress ball” in my mind. And for the most part – still is, just that these days I am a lot more cautious of my bad habits and am more likely to put a stop to it until it’s too late, although, in extreme cases of stress, I still find myself picking at my skin. as a way to cope with it and hopefully ease it at least in the slightest, however, more often than not, it results in even more stress once I come to the realization of what I had done to myself.
At first, I was a bit bummed that I was not able to create a proper replica of my face, however, after some thinking, I realized that this also works as you could interpret it as not having a clear/realistic perception of oneself’s image.
I made it so that the small bulbs hidden in the craters are extractable, however, I intentionally made the rings of said craters to be smaller and tighter to enforce a struggle to get the bulb out. After having some course mates interact with my stress ball, I noticed that this struggle did not make them give up, but rather – make them more determined to get it out of its “pore” – which is something that is common among people with dermatillomania – if they come across an imperfection that disturbs their fingertips, they will do anything to get it out, no matter how long it takes them. Another response I received is that the stress ball was strangely soothing and some responded by expressing their wish to hold onto it for some longer. These results make me feel satisfied and as though I’ve succeeded in creating not only a good stress toy, but also a dermatillomania “simulator” of sorts.
I had some more ideas planned out for the final piece but unfortunately due to time limitations was unable to carry out. I did everything in my power to try and make a small zine booklet to go with the box over the course of the night but unfortunately didn’t succeed to do so. I figured it is far more important to create this post + the evaluation than to attempt the impossible. Who knows, maybe I’ll manage to complete my quest of creating the zine before it is my turn to be assessed. For now, here is some “evidence” that would showcase my attempt:
The zine is a more elaborate version of the zine I created for the zine workshop we had earlier in the module, applied some techniques that I picked up during the bookbinding workshop as well – dyeing paper with coffee, creating the concertina fold – or at least attempting to..
The zine was meant to represent the trap that dermatillomania can be. I was planning on making it a concertina zine with a hook at the end which would bind the front and the back of the zine together so that it could be read as a continuous cycle which essentially has no end.
Another thing I wanted to do for this post in particular is creating a quick video showcasing the box itself and its contents, alongside, applying an audio file which would be a compilation of the different sounds that I was able to create using my creations. It would’ve been a trip of sensations and triggers – a way of me to put the viewer in my shoes – what it is like to be in my skin.
Overall, my project is meant to be a commentary on my personal experiences with living with dermatillomania. I found it very easy to translate my thoughts into material objects – thus leading to the creation of the final piece that you can see here. Had this been presented in real life, I think it would be much more impactful than it is right now as a lot of this project relies on sensations such as touch, hearing and seeing, it’s definitely not the same online.
This is beginning to sound a lot like an evaluation so I think I will write that out right now!