Wednesday, September 30th, 2020
Tamy Emma Pepin
“I’ve always drawn better than I could speak. I learned to use language so others would understand me. That’s what you do, to engage with your surroundings; you communicate.”
In the neighborhood I grew up in, there are about 3 floor-plan styles. They are pretty rectangular and spaced apart. Inside, the rooms are sectioned off, one long hallway ; evasive. The bathroom mirror is also low. It could be for the reason it’s built with kids in mind, who aren’t very tall. I think it was built like that because it wasn’t built for growing men. I think public housing isn’t built for growing men. I remember so many times, I didn’t know how to communicate in that space.
If I were a shape it would be something that has no corners, or lines, definitely not a rectangle.
Through my current project and self-study called ‘the Two Extremes’, I observe space. When referring to space, it’s intended in a figurative sense ; mental space. Also literal ; like a house or room. The project is a Riddle, housing a series of projects… stories, colors and truths. Through conceptual images & sounds, ‘the Two Extremes’ tells a whimsical, refining tale of self-repair & discovery and the methods formed therein.
Forming, designing, learning this riddle… witnessing it unfold in my mind as if it were a silhouette of something. Distance and knowledge acquired were like light added to reveal the owner of this silhouette. It’d been my reference point, my familiarity when everyone was a stranger, my spiritual practice, my love, my name. It’s all I’ve had of my own.
Before mandatory social distancing, I was traveling for a while, living in Montreal for the better part of 2019. It was a beautiful, healing and growth period.
Growing up using social media, and it being such an interconnected thing for creatives, it almost feels like your inner voice is trying to cater to an audience.
With a lot of quiet space to think and re-evaluate, one should consider what constructs you’ve adhered to, and which of those to cut ties with.
Personally, I outgrew the idea or narrative maintained for people who met me at a zoom-in moment of a story, and for a version of myself that I’ve surpassed. To not think in captions, and talk to a cyberspace, an auditorium, was needed. To listen to myself in these quiet spaces, face myself in the empty, and reform the way I navigate spaces that are filled.
I hung out with my nieces, got to know them, learned about things they like, held my nephew, took walks in a park, enjoyed the most beautiful spring days, just counted the trees… Each new tree you see for the first time is a discovery. I learned a lot from counting the trees. I also learned the value of expressing vulnerable topics to friends, to not over isolate, like I have before. In one conversation that was like lifting a sheer cloth off of my mind — as if it were a dome or a room — a friend mentioned, “the privilege of bliss”… that stuck with me.
With my new lens, I visited water. Two weeks. I found a beach and a beach towel.
I walked on this beach, the sand, the water. I was cleansed in a way that I hadn’t ever fathomed true. I pat myself to dry with a beach towel, that is shaped like a rectangle, but when I ball it up, or fold it, it isn’t a rectangle anymore; it’s reshaped.