Constraint by Preconceptions

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised.                                                            - Helen Keller

When  faced with new knowledge, we can generally fit it into our current worldview.  But occasionally we encounter knowledge that forces us to to look deeper,  at how we are  Constrained by Preconceptions.

For example, when reading about the life and work of Helen Keller,  I realized that since childhood I had assumed she had live an immensely circumscribed life. 

I was completely wrong.

Instead of a small, managed life,  I found her life writ large in English, French, German, Latin and Greek.

How Helen Keller mainly learned about the world was by reading, and it was her self-identification as a writer that expanded her options against the barriers of her disabilities to become an internationally celebrated, powerful force in the world.

This installation, Constraint by Preconceptions utilizes text by and about her, taken from books, articles and films and written in the five languages that she used.

Fabricated as parallel streams of Braille and visual fonts, it is rendered with paper, graphite and beeswax.   The strips are then woven through old rusted metal fencing.  This constraint is compounded by waxed linen thread tied and entwining both the paper and metal intensifying the rigidity.

The old rusty fencing is like societal and cultural constraints and the waxed linen thread is like the strength of familial assumptions and prejudices.

       Preconceptions  2012                

  • beeswax
  • natural pigments: graphite
  • paper, linen string
  • old wire fencing

Photographs by Alan Bibby

   Preconceptions - white     (detail)

Preconceptions - white  (detail)

   Preconceptions - white     (detail)

Preconceptions - white  (detail)

   Preconceptions - graphite     (detail)

Preconceptions - graphite  (detail)

   Preconceptions - graphite     (detail)

Preconceptions - graphite  (detail)

   Preconceptions - white,  2012

Preconceptions - white,  2012

   Preconceptions - graphite, 2012

Preconceptions - graphite, 2012