This digital print is the surface from which the parts that make up the hands are to be cut -- on a field of textured colors, I opted for saturated hues of unnatural colors, ones which would never be found on living skin, but those bright enough to show some form of rigor. There is a life to these hands, but not in the human sense. They have their own power, their own living idea which they represent.
Don't stop practicing: the words which make up the patterned text on this print all read this phrase, but in three different languages.
Russian: One I've known from childhood
Italian: One I've learned through years of study
German: One I've begun to learn only recently
Each of these languages are personally significant to me in some way, and that is why they are being represented on this print, and not any other number of languages which I could have randomly chosen from on a whim.
The concept I've brewed surrounding these "phantom limbs" of mine will be taking on a more tangible form, by way of 3D papercraft techniques found and developed through research online on the subject. By importing 3D meshes in to a program called Meshlab and simplifying the forms into faceted objects, they can be then imported into another program called Pepakura Designer, where they are unfolded and able to be divided into a printable template.
Due to the nature of this project, however, I couldn't just print them out and hand-cut them. Oh, no. I had to make sure they had the laser-cutter seal of approval -- so I had to trace out the lines in Photoshop so that I could import and trace them in Illustrator in order to achieve the proper vector image format for the assignment. It took approximately 45 minutes to cut each set of parts from three different sheets of 24"x22" matte paper, or about 2.25 hours for all of them.
My connection to my culture, my heritage, and my home feels to me almost like a phantom limb. A part of my identity, one which gives me a place in life, is but a distant sensation. They're not completely gone, but remain as spectres of what once was, and the burn I feel as I try to recall them is a constant reminder that I am not as whole as I think I am.
My mind exists as an expanse of lines, holding information about everything I've ever known, but the ones that matter the most are fading rapidly.
Where is my home? If not with my culture, then where else? I feel as though I live within a series of disconnects even in my own domestic settings -- there is a numbness that accompanies the parts of me I'm losing, and the feeling migrates throughout my body.
Some days, my hands feel foreign to me. Some nights, I can't get the pins and needles out of my legs. Am I home? Put your slippers on in the house, my mother says. It's why you're always getting sick. I'm hesitant to put the slippers on. Where are my house clothes? If I don't feel like this is home, why would I wear them?
More thoughts to explore soon.
While the concept of my last print was quite clear, it almost started to take on a new meaning to me as I signed my first print, Даже Мое График Сна Идеальный (Even My Nap Schedule's Perfect). I actually had some trouble translating exactly what I wanted to say. I'm not even certain I picked the right words in the end anyway. This thought alone sort of frustrates me, on a very deep and personal level.
Russian is my first language, the one I grew up knowing and speaking, before I even knew a word of English. Despite that, it's slipping away slowly. I feel as though, over the years, I've repressed this feeling and compensated for it through obsessive exploration and study of other languages -- and to what end? All that's come of it is the nagging thought that I've got a better lingual foundation from what I learned in high school Italian than I've retained from a lifetime of living in a Russian-speaking household.
I've studied Italian and Latin, even Japanese and Swedish. My current thing is German. Does doing a beginner Duolingo lesson in Russian once a week count as making an effort to preserve what I've got left?
И что я могу сделать? Иногда это так просто. Но иногда я ничего не помню.
I took a five minute video of the process. It really gives you a different perspective when you can see the way you work! Hope you dig the tunes. It's not much of a... tune.
Came out with a few beauties, much like this one: