In these works I wanted to dissect identity, what was this unexplainable, unfathomable thing? Was it connected to our gender or sexuality our race or religion or was it as reductive as our appearance. Most importantly who defines it really?
Rosie – 25
Jake – 25
Matt – 30
Jaymee – 24
Poppy – 19
Zhen Feng – 19
Mel – 32
Hughesy – 30
Meg – 44
Kym – 24
Paul – 25
Emma – 24
Edie – 24
Jo – 30
Harri – 17
The identity conversation started with an ongoing exercise in which I asked all participants to write three words which they thought ‘identified’ themselves in the chat.
Followed by a small piece of writing I had written discussing my own identity. We when had Danne share an affirming yet deeply personal poem. Followed by a piece of writing about rediscovering who you thought you were. This then led to a vulnerable yet discerning conversation about the fluctuations of identity and self. Some of the zoom chat transcript can be found below.
16:56:54 From Lily Garratt to Everyone : 3 Identity words that describe me: unorganised, cat hair, veggie stir frys :0)
16:58:29 From Zhen Feng Ang to Everyone : 3 Identity words that describe me: fate, crazy , mysterious
17:07:46 From Cas Heath-Faye to Everyone : Identity . . . I am
17:11:20 From Aly Luccari to Everyone : 3 words that describe me: curious, introspective, musical
17:12:53 From Claire Evans to Everyone : 3 identity words that describe me: mum, writer, learner
17:17:32 From Shane Kesby to Everyone : I can relate to identity in regards to a relationship that ended a few years back. When we had first met, I was…..me. As time passed I felt my identity was no longer my own, but what was expected of me from conversation, facial expressions, personal history with my parents. A provider, a worker, a father, a teacher and so on. Over time I didn’t notice, but my identity changed, to what I thought I had to be instead of what I was. The relationship ended after 10 yrs and I remember rediscovering myself and seeing the contrast between the identities I had formed. I remember one comment between us that will always stick in my head. What has happened to you, you’ve changed? In my mind I was still a dad and a teacher but I was also what I wanted to be and not what was expected. i don’t remember when I just accepted that I had to be that person, and its strange now that it persisted for so long.
17:17:33 From Sandy Fischer to Everyone : 3 identity words that describe me: writer, perceptive, positive
17:22:24 From Zhen Feng Ang to Everyone : Ah yes Shane the change of identity can sometime throw us into a ‘Advanture’ of identity. I remember how weird it felt when I got to be a teacher right after my secondary graduation.
“Identity is a tricky thing to grasp on to, every time you think you’ve got an understanding of what it is, what you are, it seems to slip from your fingers like your holding on to it too tightly. I always thought it was better to not try too hard, to let the ideas or opinions of the people surrounding you fill you up and define you, because how you outwardly appeared was somehow more truthful more accurate than your opinion of yourself. I remember my dad getting this big shiny red bus for my second birthday it was almost as big as me, it opened up like a dolls house and there where little figures inside, there was a kitchen and bedrooms and the front grill of the bus opened up as if it was a secret hiding space, I’d often think about wanting to shrink down and hid inside it, in the safe primary coloured plastic, with the plastic mum and dad and siblings. I can still remember my mums flat and the carpet that looked like it belonged in a pub, bright blue with orange and yellow flowers, I remember the screaming lady downstairs sending her son upstairs to shout at my 19 year old mum for playing Janis Joplin too loudly, I remember when I picked up a frog from our tiny masionette lawn and it bleeding all over me because mum had run it over with the lawn mower, I remember the milkman having to bring his sons on his round one day and one of them peeking in on me getting changed in my bright yellow bedroom. I remember putting my dressing up shoes in the oven because I thought I should put them away, I remember all of these things but I don’t do I, I’m remembering the last time I thought about them, I’m remembering them because I think it made me who I am, but did it? I don’t think your identity is a collage of all of the things that happen to you but at the same time it is, I don’t think its how you look or present yourself, I don’t think its like a soul or a gut instinct, I think it’s all of this and none of it. Like if you were to be squashed down and bottled up, it would be that bit, the sliver lining between your skin and everything outside, the thing that makes your brain hum, the feelings in between feelings, the gaps, that’s it. Although my identity or at least how I perceived myself may have changed and I’ve grown to like myself more i’ve always known what kind of person I wanted to be and that I believe is all you can strive for.”