Otherness can be related to many forms of identity, including racial, sexual, gender, political, and social. We all experience issues around group membership or non-membership throughout our lives - in different places and across different time scales. From the momentary feeling of the outsider experienced when entering a new social setting, to lifelong social dynamics centered on identities such as race, class, and gender.
For some of us these barriers are easily overcome, for others - not so much. Many of these experiences are produced solely by our internal perceptions of ourselves and the social world around us. Others are mediated largely by our society’s constructions of tribe, of ‘us and them’.
In this series I am attempting to create scenes that elicit experiences of being the ‘Other’ for the viewer, using iconic Campbell’s Soup cans as a social stand-in. A few represent specific situations where the ‘Other’ is a function of being part of a minority group that is not a full and equal member of our society.
Most are more generic and represent situations in which any of us may have been, or could find ourselves at anytime. These compositions are deliberately simple, using a minimum of props and a neutral background, in order to limit the specificity of the situational cues. In this way, the viewer can more easily project their own experience and see different scenarios.
Interestingly, we all share the common experience of being the ‘Other’. What are you seeing in each of these compositions?