Category Archives: One Night Stand

One Night Stand – Handout

handout As a handout to my part in the One Night Stand show at San Jose Museum of Art, I provided this little cutout body.

It read:

Suspended Parts

Why did I do this?

Trying to understand racism, I wondered why skin color could make such a difference to how we treat each other. What did that really signify? Weren’t our pancreases the same color? Wasn’t so much underneath the surface the same but we were being blinded by the surface color? What if all we could see was each other’s pancreases? Or kidneys? Or brains? I also noticed that I had a variety of visceral reactions to people simply based on their looks – not just different skin color but facial features, height, weight.

I knew logically that each person was rich in story, experience, potential, and each had their own soul and deserved to strive to be happy. Why do I pull away from certain ones? I’m happier when I’m around happy engaging people. Whatever my initial reaction to them, couldn’t it be one to help make their day? Why not?

What if we actually talked? What could we see then? Could a conversation be mutually rewarding if I were more open? How could I get past these visceral reactions?

It became a long term practice to remind myself of parts of others I could not see.

From a different tack, I began learning firsthand how my body holds emotion. Given stress afflictions, I became more familiar with parts of the body that deal with fear. I wore a wild red and orange brooch that I considered to be my amygdala, which was feeling very stressed at the time. (Our amygdalae handle the fight or flight decision, below consciousness.) I wore it to corporate meetings where people just thought it was a wild pin. But I knew it was my amygdala and I was reminded to take care of her. It was the closest thing to carrying one’s favorite rag-tag teddy bear into corporate. It also helped me remember that each player in that room had their own amygdalae in various states of disarray. Over time I believe this new attention helped the afflictions subside. I’ve found that handling body parts brings up many thoughts and reactions for myself as well as those I’ve shared my work with. It took me three weeks to be comfortable typing the word “rectum” on my website to describe the image I’d posted but erroneously called a colon. Some people go easily and enjoy this conversation. Others cannot hold the item or are disgusted by it. For me, this is all ok. Making these items in soft and engaging fibers with crochet tends to make them about as safe as possible. And since we all own these parts, my deepest hope is that in time, we all – world leaders included – would be very comfortable in our bodies and share many hearty laughs about our predicament. Laura Mappin San Jose Museum of Art One Night Stand June 7, 2007

One Night Stand

Visitors to the San Jose Museum of Art handled, twisted, fondled and pondered my crocheted body parts as part of the museum’s evening show One Night Stand contemplating Personal Identity.

display table

Pre-show. Table full of crocheted body parts and a flyer describing why I did this.

For examination, I provided intestines, eyeballs, and appendices as well as the always anticipated genitalia. I suspended amygdalae, tongues, and recta to symbolize those body parts of real people in conversation.

I often ponder only one part of the body of all the people around me as an effort to remember we are all more than what is immediately visible externally. Sometimes I ponder their brains when I’m in stressful corporate meetings. Or I ponder their stomachs when I’m in line for breakfast for the fifth day of a cruise.

Together we pondered religious teachings that we’d been exposed to that encouraged treating people differently because of skin hue – “it would be better for both if you don’t date someone of a different color”. One woman came by and tweaked the pearl of every vulva on the table. Another wondered why there were more penises than vulvae – and then we counted. The penises were just more visible but actually the vulvae were more numerous. One viewer commented that many more women handled the objects than men. I encouraged him to help balance that out.

serious discussion

Intense contemplation did happen once or twice but raucous activity ruled. Unfortunately we were too busy bantering comments and body parts about to take any pics then.

suspended tongues

Tongues suspended at kid height, in a circle

suspended tongues close

Close-up of suspended tongues

suspended amygdalae

Suspended amygdalae

suspended recta

Suspended recta

girl rectum

Someone dubbed this exhibit a “Girl rectum”

brown shimmering rectum

Does that mean this is a “Boy rectum”?

eyeball play

Some people can’t be taken anywhere

intestine fondling

Quiet moment with intestine

playing with parts 2

The eyeballs connected to the appendix, the appendix connected to another appendix, the other appendix connected to … .

body part menagerie

Back: lungs ride a rectum over the amygdala through a sea of intestines.

Front: a wormy red and white appendix inches its way up to the head of a penis while an eyeball watches on.