I, ME, MINE
I became obsessed with my image on the mirror. Mentally I disfigured my face and body. Like a tailor, I pulled from here, cut from there, delete from there. If I had a more straight nose. More visible cheekbones. The face less round. Less body hair. Bigger breasts. Smaller breasts. A finer skin. Smaller eyebrows. Shorter feet. A narrower hip. Green eyes. Or blue eyes. The hair, darker some days or more red the others. More freckles. Less freckles. Smaller waist. Sometimes, I would even have deleted the dimple on my chin.
I cut, pasted, and liquified. It became sick. Sometimes even now, when I brush my teeth or my hair, I surprise myself still doing it.
I looked in the mirror for so long, and so intenselly, that I got to believe I was on the other side.
One day, that started like any other, I walked to the studio, in the University of Arts. I had decided some time ago to work in a self-portrait project, and I wanted to experiment in the studio.
The solemnity of that studio, filled with the light coming from an old fresnel. The silence. The solitude.
I stood, for the first time, in front of my own camera. I felt the light kissing my skin. It was so physical I could almost touch it. I felt it flooding my head with ideas unknown until then.
In that moment, no mirror was looking back at me. Just a lens, that seemed then like a black hole, inevitably pulling the ideas that once crossed my mind. Because I would never have a less round face, and the dimple on my chin was not going anywhere. And so it happened with the rest of imaginary modifications I had been applying on myself for so many years.
Until there was only the light, and the silence occasionally broken by the sound of the shutter.
In some moment of this process, I understood that the “me” who was looking back from the screen of the camera, was a totally different one. It was not the stalking look at my own defects, but the look that looked at the world. The looked every one else saw. Not the real image, but the projected image. A version of me that was not post-produced, but created from the camera.
Since then I inevitably felt myself pulled to finding out who that person is. How the different angles of the light affected her. The colours. The make-up or its absence. The point of view of the viewer.
As if life was a theatre. As if I could be simultaneously on the stage, and on the seating area, and on the balconys. Always when there is a light beam, this vision comes to me. And then, and only then, the image on the mirror becomes an abstract and grotesque disfiguration.
Dirt exists only on the eye of the viewer. Just like gender.
I am no woman. I am no man. I am a person with unique feelings, memories, knowledge, aspirations. If you believe all those things are dependent on gender, then I pity you. Gender is the most powerful mass domination weapon that ever existed. Abolishing it is my mission as an image creator. Because shaping light is shaping minds.