Within our curation we reflected upon the theme of “Authenticity of Place in the Midst of Conflict.” This theme has impacts on those who are going through really hard times and their struggle to come to terms with these events. Within these times, figuring out how to define oneself and move forward after your outlook on life has changed, becomes a struggle to find the sunshine within a world of grief and darkness. We hope, through our curated pieces, that viewers understand the importance of self reflection and moving forward through new eyes.
In 2010, 15-year old, Phoebe Prince, hung herself after moving from Ireland to Massachusetts. She was harassed and bullied at school. Sadly, stories like Phoebe's only continue to grow in number, especially as we delve into the 21st century where technology only continues to advance. Phoebe loses her sense of comfort after moving to a different country, away from the only friends she has ever knowing. This is similar to the loss that Holden experienced after his brother, Allie, died. Just like Phoebe, Holden in "Catcher in the Rye" struggles to make real connections with people which were caused by an internal struggle against self. In high school there are social barriers, but such walls only strengthen and heighten once we are out in the "real world". Critics question whether bullying should be a crime or not, using Phoebe case to back up their cases. These arguments remind readers how often and easy it is to dismiss those who feel marginalized or isolated. We live in a world that are full barriers that range from racism to sexism. These obstacles make “dreaming” about achieving the dream more difficult and often limit the opportunities to do so.
The movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness”, directed by Gabriele Muccino, portrays the lifetime journey of a single father, Chris Gardner, and his son. From struggle and failure, they are able to rise above and create much more efficient lives for themselves. At the end of the movie, after landing a job that will be able to give this family a chance, Chris finally has his happy moment and realizes what it means to live which shows how people are able to move through the bad times, find themselves, and move on to something greater. Even though this movie was made in 2006, it is still talked about and has an impact on people today. A news article from TVOM writes about a real life “Pursuit of Happyness moment” after a homeless man’s reaction to getting a job is unknowingly caught on camera and shared with the world. This proves that mentally getting through the bad times is truly possible and can happen to anyone. To read the related article, please view the link: http://www.tvovermind.com/movies/cameraman-catches-real-life-pursuit-happyness-moment
Holden in "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger thinks that the world is against him and that the constantly describing the world as “phony.” After the loss of Holden’s brother, Allie, the world has changed for him and his outlook on life is very similar to the themes within our auditory component. He thinks the world is dull and idolizes his childhood in some ways. He walks down the streets of New York city and desperately calls for his brother’s name with his immense feeling of despair. The lyric in Imagine Dragons song, “Demons,” describes what Holden is feeling. They sing, “When the days are gold and the cards all fold.” All of the events within his life seem to end up as a failure as he is kicked out of boarding school and can't seem to make connections or friends with the people around him. He thinks that a perfect place does not exist and that is similar to the lyric, “and all the saints we see are all made of gold.” But within this world, Holden finds comfort within the innocence that is held within Phoebe and like the song, Holden's wants to “shelter” and “hide the truth,” keeping her from growing old and becoming aware of the pain that will eventually come. Holden doesn’t want Phoebe to experience his pain and grieving and “where his demons hide.”
Sadowska portrays an internal conflict by physical means. He is panting over himself almost to hide his true self. We see the same unwillingness to show others one's true identity in “A Raisin in the Sun” when Beneatha tries to convince her family not to assimilate with the culture they're living in, which is the white culture. For example, when she tries to listen to her native music, her family quickly shuts it down. Beneatha looks up to Asagai and hopes he can be the one to help her stick to her true identity because she believes her family and society have lead her astray from her native culture. She conveys the influence of one’s environment, in particular social norms and situations, and the struggle to stay true to one’s self as depicted with the black paint that is beginning to envelop his face.
“Infinity Mirror Rooms” by Yayoi Kusama is an interactive artistic environment created by mirrors, lights, and other objects picked out by Kusama, like rubber, wood, and lanterns. By using a “repetitive illusion,” she creates an experience taking the viewer out of reality and into their own world. As said by the Hirshhorn Museum, Kusama focuses on the idea of “the transience of life and the inevitability of death, this installation creates a harmonious and quiet place for visitors to contemplate their existence, reflect on the passage of time, and think about their relationship to the outer world.” The Infinity rooms cause visitors to examine themselves amidst an infinite world, so they can come back to reality as themselves, their authentic and true selves. Today, sometimes we find ourselves lost in the world, but Kusama gives us an escape. The Infinity rooms can bring us back to the Civil Rights Movement. In poem “repetition & repetition &,” Nate Marshall says, “we are a pattern,/a percussive imperative” (Marshall, 1), reminding me of the pattern Kusama creates in her room. The idea of a single pattern happening over and over again. Marshall goes on to explain, “to the edge of the city limits./we are limited to the hood/until we decide we are not”(1). The mirrors in the exhibit can either act as barriers or as Infinity, it is the viewer's decision. To decide to be authentic in the midst of a crisis, to walk into an infinity room and “contemplate existence,” and to not be limited or defined by anyone but yourself. To find out more about Yayoi Kusama, infinity mirrors, and her other work watch this video: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/entertainment/prepare-yourself-for-kusamas-infinity-mirrors-at-the-hirshhorn/2017/02/21/d68244f4-f89b-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334_video.html
Our curated links display the challenges and struggles of staying true to yourself in times of hardship in today’s society. At times we believe that the views of other people and social status lead us to our American Dream, but this is not the case. When facing adversity, there is a great amount of responsibility that people must undertake. To truly reach the American Dream, we must find our true reflection in the rough waters of society.