Monday, March 3, 2014

Second Day Noodle: Identity and Self-Image

Let me introduce the Second Day Noodle! I've decided to start a weekly posting of thoughts, ideas, observations and questions. Okay, I'm naming the weekly post Second Day Noodle because it's kind of a funny name, I'll be posting it on Tuesdays (Second Day), and it's about thoughts and ideas, which are born in the brain, and the brain is in the head (Noodle). Maybe sometimes the thoughts I post will be sharp, exceptional, and enlightened. I'm sure some will also be absurd and laughable. Both kinds of thoughts fit with the term noodle. Not only does noodle refer to the head, but it is also a noun for someone who's being a bit dopey!

For today's post I'd like to spark some thoughts about phenomenology and self-image. According to the Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy, phenomenology is "the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from teh first-person point of view". While reading the Beautiful Decay blog I came across the work of Dawn Woolley.
Her work gives a greally interesting example of a first-person point of view as she becomes literally the viewer as well as the object.

Most of her work includes some form of self-portraiture, and she does it in a very nontraditional way. With "The Substitute" she printed life size portraits of herself, and photographed them having interactions with men.

Dawn Woolley
The Substitute

Image from Beautiful Decay

In the series "Adolescence" Woolley printed diminutive self-portraits of some of her adolescent actions, and photographed these print outs in the locations where they originally took place.

Dawn Woolley

Image from Beautiful Decay

Woolley's work is a great example of using art to explore notions of identity and self-image.

From a first-person point of view how do I see myself? How much of my self-image is based on how I believe others see me? How much of it stems from how I would like others to see me?

Thoughts about identity have been underlying a lot of my art therapy studies lately. I guess Woolley's images spoke out to me because of this interest in identity issues. Also, the way she explores self-portraiture could be a great experiential with clients who are going through identity changes, self-actualization, struggling with their roles in society, and other issues dealing with how others see them and how they see themselves.

I welcome any thoughts you have about this stuff!

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