“I think people are too afraid to look at peoples’ suffering because they think they don’t know how to handle it. And they are so afraid that they don’t want to face it as truth, as reality.”
According to Erikson’s eight stages of psycho-social development, our sense of trust and the ways we relate to each other develop within our first 18 months of life. Added intergenerational trauma, dysfunction in one’s homelife and a hectic socio-political climate proves that healthy patterns of relationality are difficult to come by. This weakened chain of relationality comes to mean that we easily fall prey to individualist norms and conventions that constrict and divide us more than liberate us. A loss in empathy amounts to a collective inability to solve our climate crisis, and to address the large looming social issues in our midst. And so it is, relating, or “feeling sympathy with, identifying with” becomes too much for our sensitive bodies, who now absorb more information in a day than other generations did in a year. So we turn away from suffering and we soldier on, dependent on larger systems, yet separate.
Jane Margarette’s cast of characters in “Misting of a Fiery Fever”, made from earth, shine a light on a larger network of dependency. On first glance, her heavy ceramic wall sculptures are decor-like, if not toy-like. Metallic surfaces combine with tones and details akin to suburban home interiors or child-specific fantastical realms. Their surfaces point to perfection or superficiality. Glazes and craftsmanship are intricate, overly meticulous, a guise, reflecting a larger glossing. But on further inspection, these characters reveal themselves as quiet markers of warning. Each character is dressed as a large lock. We have no access to the imaginations of these characters. We are intentionally cast out of their fantasies. And yet they are bolted to the walls, they stay as long as you will listen.
Bat, butterfly and bird. The chosen subjects seem to be inconsequential, but they are not.
Birds, a butterfly, a bat.
Butterfly, bat, bird, bat, bird, butterfly
It takes a minute to register that all of these animals live today in peril, we’ve just been conditioned to forget. For in the anthropocene, animals are rendered fuel, objects of attachment, symbolic, decor, and perhaps a glimmer of philosophy, mythologies and traditions that have been swapped for screens. As spaces and ecosystems, paths through life, are locked by global Capitalist desire, and while Capitalism persists and succeeds at locking away capacities for intimacy, will we find the will to transform?
- Text by Zoe Koke in Collaboration with Jane Margarette