Ketemu Project | Excavation of the Forgotten
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Excavation of the Forgotten

The night before I left, I dreamt a menacing black snake bit me, in my inner thigh. There are snakes here—watch where you step. Dusts and cobwebs form another layer over the plastic coverings. A house before, now a store of forgotten memories, ghosts, and untold stories—“she has spoken of the autobiographical subtext that underpins her unique symbolic language.” [1] —Trying to map the patterns of meanings. Encountering loss, faint traces, excavating only to find gaps, gaps, gaps, gaps.


“Most violence against women occurs within the domestic sphere”. Dark, dilapidated—this place looks like a rape den. The signal is never so obvious though. Intruders don’t signpost themselves. Everything has its roots in our childhood, from compulsions and desires to patriotism; “What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?”

Dolls, dolls, dolls, bags of them. Dolls. —Many of them without face, without eyes, without nose, without ears, without senses, without perception, no identity, no personhood.


Objects that are permeable—the body is plastic, easily etched on; muscle memory, involuntary memory. The body, the “I”, is intruded upon from within and without. “Murni exalted her pain by reclaiming her body for herself, celebrating it for her own pleasure, represented on her canvases with nude, deformed, body parts. She was inspired by her instincts that were nurtured by trauma, experience, fantasies and surreal dreams.” [2]


The stories. —She would collect her pubic hair, gathered them and made a brush to paint with. —The shells, she would collect them from the nearby beach; used them as decorations, glued them to sinks, walls and banisters. The shell, an outer casing; the body, a casing; the body, a cage of bones and skins, doubly intruded upon, by cancer, then intervention by the modern medical enterprise. What was the story again? Cervical cancer? —The symbolic connections can hardly be ignored. The “I” in ecstasy exceeds its burdens. The emptiness where once was the site of pleasure, that action “to reclaim the body that has been raped and exposed to the pleasures of others”. [3]


[2] & [3]