© 2015 Tessie Barrera-Scharaga. Website designed by Gabrielle Scharaga

  • Facebook Clean

Acts of Heresy

Time-based, mixed media installation incorporating clay, found objects, light, audio, and fabric.

5'x5'x8'

1997

 

The concepts of family, and family life, are being explored through this work. An idealized, enclosed, and protected environment is alluded to, but the materials used to construct it are very fragile. Foreign elements can easily be introduced into the space, giving way to changes and allowing new processes to begin. Outside noises can easily obliterate interior sounds. Objects that had been painstakingly shaped and polished are systematically destroyed, but the raw material from which they originated is left behind, ready to take on a new form.

 

The idea that families are able to provide a protective environment in which children are nurtured into adulthood is still pervasive in our society. However, culture and society are major forces shaping individuals. Influences and pressures coming from outside the family realm constantly bombard the home environment. In present times, families must deal with relentlessly invasive technologies that persistently gain access into their most private spaces. Children are exposed to vast amounts of information without regard to their age, their experience, or their capacity to process the flood of data aimed at them. Everyone is fair game and everything goes. Parents are no longer the primary educators as new generations of children are being educated, via the media, into consumerism, and encouraged to find pleasure in many harmful things, drugs, alcohol, casual sex, violence, etc. Who is ultimately responsible for the mis-education of our children? Families shape individuals, but the culture and society in which they live greatly affect the values parents are trying to instill, sometimes even destroying them.

 

The piece honors the myriad of small, ordinary actions that make up the hours and days of many women’s lives. The amount of effort involved in acting on behalf of someone else is alluded to by the care with which each single bottle was molded, scraped, polished, and refined. The division of public and private spheres renders these acts invisible, despite the fact that all over the world, millions of women perform them on a daily basis. Unobserved selfless acts do not attain the same attention and respect of those performed in the public eye; therefore they are assigned a lesser value. The disintegration of each bottle is then symbolic of these innumerable actions that took time and effort to complete, but very often, leave no record of ever taking place.