Embodying the Myth of Shadow
“Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is”.-- C.G. Jung
This project’s aim is to explore the aspect of shadow as it influences both the individual and community. The shadow is the sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life. For Jung, the theory of the shadow was a metaphorical means of conveying the prominent role played by the unconscious and sought to provide a more highly differentiated and descriptive version as a poetic term for the totality of the unconscious.
The concept of shadow has origins dating all the way back to the tale of twin sisters Isis (goddess of earth, nature, and magic) and Nephthys (goddess of death and rebirth). Even though Nephthys was invisible and considered the darkness to Isis’s light, the shadow to her existence; their powers were matched in magnitude and intensity, and together they formed a balanced force that combined their almost identical yet opposing forces to create a whole. Nephthys’ power completed Isis’s and Isis’s Nephthys’s. Without which their ability to resurrect Osiris would have not been possible.
INSPIRATIONAL ARTISTS & OBJECTIVES
Students will be introduced to the artwork of Mario David Fischer (who uses carved glass panels) and David Spriggs (who uses transparent films) to layer images that separately might not make sense. However, arranged together in a certain way, they create an image(s) of a subject creating a parts-of-a-whole effect.
- Students will view and interpret the artist examples’ work and conduct a generative discussion to identify personal aspects that are both positive and negative.
- Students will experiment with embodying aspects of their personality by searching online to find, print and trace images that they relate to.
- Students will create a layered image of themselves by arranging and rearranging their traced images to form a composition that represents these aspects in a form that is not a traditional self-portrait (face).
- Powerpoint & discussion: of the concept of shadow, the story and ideology behind Isis & Nephthys’ story, and artists’ work
- Image search: Students will search for at least 20 images that represent different aspects of their unconscious, both positive and negative, using the internet
- Tracing: students will use transparent papers to trace onto their chosen images
- Experimentation: students will play around with images in different arrangements to find an arrangement that speaks to them
- Layering: as a result, students will create a layered image of themselves using their traced images and chosen composition that represents aspects of their shadow that has emerged by adding all these aspects of self
Community/Cultural Project:Communal Shadow
In order to represent collective manifestations of the shadow’s projections, which, according to Jung, we demonize as enemies by eluding ourselves to believe that they are inhuman monsters. Students will explore theshadows as represented through our fears which are perceived as evil, dark, and scary projections of our imaginations; and, like enemies, we want to stay away from and escape those fears.
ARTIST & OBJECTIVES
Using Ellis Wilson and Lari Pittman as artist examples, students will engage with these ideas of Jung’s projection of the communal shadow by participating in a class project revolving around fear to represent their communal shadow.
- Each student will able to participate in a class discussion by generating conversations to contribute at least one suggestion of a personal or general fear
- Students will be able to create an image that shows unique fear related to them either personally, culturally, or socially.
- Students will identify their image as it appears and describe in brief 2-3 sentences what their fear is about, how those fears manifested, and what particularly makes them afraid of it.
- Powerpoint: Introduction of communal shadows, artist Ellis Wilson, vocabulary, and objectives
- Discussion: The entire class will conduct a discussion/collective brainstorm to create a list of personal, cultural and societal fears
- Studio: Image and Procession/Parade Creation
- A) Individual students create their own images of fears no larger than 6 inches tall
- B) Presentation: An extra-long transparent role of paper is spread out along a table; students trace their images using black sharpie onto the transparent paper create a straight line of character representing a procession or parade
- C) As each character appears on the projection, students will describe the Who, What, and Why’s of their characters in brief 2-3 sentences.
- Critique: Oral group discussion/critique and written self-assessment