This week in Art 110, we explored the idea of a counterfactual identity. This is when someone takes on a fictional identity that can explore any spectrum through its specific personality and culture. Even though I can’t do as great of a job as Nikki S. Lee, an identity artist, I tried to channel my inner Cheryl.
Cheryl Lee is as introverted as you can get. She really likes black clothes because they compliment her black hair. She enjoys being alone with her sculptures that usually involve metal, but she’s been trying to work with other elements that can showcase a sharp distinction between opposites. She is demonstrating her artistic change through her dark, plum lipstick, that is not black, which is opposite enough for her. She listens to noise and white noise. Most people can’t tell the difference, but there is a distinct difference. In conversation, she uses subtle sarcasm, so subtle that anyone can question what actually interests her or what doesn’t. Her most used remarks are “whatever”, “sure”, *shrugs*, and “that’s cool”. She doesn’t mind the stupidity of people because she believes it’s inevitable and is something that is constant, like the replay of a chain link fence being hit on her iPod. She’s quite the character.
You may be wondering… why “Cheryl”?
Personally, I think there is something dark about that name. The dip from “sh” to the “ryl” seems so drastic, like it was sounding great from the calming “shh”, but then it took a turn down to a tumbling depth of the unknown to the “ryl”. It just seemed fitting to add Cheryl to a dark character.
When I walked around and asked what they thought my name was or my major, I got a lot of answers that had to do with an intense emotional and artistic description or a major that had to do with little contact from other people or the spotlight. Ex: poet, artist, makeup artist, someone behind the scenes.
I didn’t get the correct answer to my character’s name, but my favorite one was “Ebony”. I guess I’m the only one that sees Cheryl as a dark name…
I really liked this activity because of the interaction. It was really fun to pretend to be someone else and be able to dictate this character’s exact personality and actions. It was all improvisation and to interact with other people to see their thoughts about my character was amusing. It’s surprising to have this sort of freedom to pick out whatever characteristics you want your person to have. Whether it’s following the character’s own, I guess, specific, or society-given, superficial, and stereotypical guidelines or taking the liberty to go into more detail to tell a story of how different and unique every person can be through the littlest details.
It’s great to have such freedom through art.