Displacement from Home: What to Leave, What to Take —
Cabinets, Cupboards, Cases and Closets (DC4)
Responding to the issue of migration, which has defined the 20th and 21st centuries with prolonged global flight on a massive scale, DC4 is a natural progression of Stein’s artistic projects since 9/11, in which she focused on themes of protection and victimization, power and vulnerability. Stein responds visually and viscerally with work that echoes heartbreak and hope. Anxiety and affirmation can exist simultaneously or separately: these sculptures contain metaphoric fragments left in the flight from a threatened household, and/or remnants which have been carefully, methodically, and patiently re-contextualized into new surroundings: the safe home. These varied items, significant and quotidian, adored and abandoned, are recalled as moments from daily life: neighborhood, culture – identity. Within each sculpture, there is a paradoxical combination of menace and serenity. One shelf or drawer holds haunting reminders of life, materials worn and rusted or brand new, lying around in unexpected couplings after one might have been forced to rush out the door.
ENCOUNTERS with DC4
The Identity Exploration with Cultural Artifacts encounter, with the Spoon to Shell Series, begins with a discussion, while looking at the art, with others whose social class, age, gender, sexuality, and ethnic background differs from one’s own. To join the discussion click here. To interpret a cultural artifact, it is important to look at conditions for its production as they relate to socioeconomic class structures, gender-role expectations, and specific visual codes of the time, as well as how those codes have changed over time. Using Regender (Yee, 2005), read articles that are regendered–about the cultural artifacts–to discern whether and how the meaning has changed. Look again at each work in the Spoon to Shell Series. What does the spoon signify in relation to the shells and text fragments and other items in the box assemblages? The uniformity of the 20 black, wooden, box sculptures brings order and calm to the chaos, fragments, and tensions that are visible from the window of each box. Stein uses spoons and shells in the box sculptures as metaphors for power and vulnerability.
Lesson Plan Examples
The sculptures in DC4 contain metaphoric fragments left in the flight from a threatened household, and/or remnants which have been carefully, methodically, and patiently re-contextualized into new surroundings: the safe home. These sculptures explore the state of being displaced with the sensibility of interconnectivity, accessibility, resistance.