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:
The completed designs, the first to be carved, and the latter three to be lasered, all on MDF board.
This is the final design that I settled on -- but of course, it's not laser-ready, or even split into layers at this point. Oh, boy. This is fun!
(I do mean it. It's fun. But my BRAIN's having quite the week already.)
We can all agree that this is pretty atrocious as it is. But it sure did get the ball rolling in my brain. Haha, get it? There's a brain right on the page and--
I'll just stop that thought right there.
But things did get more interesting as I played around with the text and white space, and got rid of that brain image. I'll low-key miss it. I might make a series of brain prints just to make up for it. I'll always remember you.