Grimanesa Amorós. Reflexion Obscura, 2005–2006.
“Reflexion Obscura” seeks to evoke the viewer’s empathy for the true darkness felt by an abused child. Many children are physically and emotionally abused in the world, by family members, and by governments, businesses, and schools. Tales of mentally ill parents and helpless children are commonplace in the media and oversimplify the dangers of child abuse. They encourage fear and wariness. American society’s obsession with youth has made childhood into an abstract perfection for many people. This turns the accounts of abuse that we hear into simplistic stories of good and evil. It hides the strange darkness and complex causes of the problem, such as our cultural fixation on youth that can lead to individuals’ obsessions with the young. I took many cues from the child in the video, trying to preserve the strange feeling that she gives to her enactment. The energy of the child’s imagination became a medium for my reflections on this topic. I can more fully understand the forgotten pain by seeing it surface in the play of the child. Its strangeness reminds us that we do not view children as real people so much as dolls or as reflections of ourselves. I want the audience to come to understand children’s pain (both physical and emotional) and their complex experience of the darkness of abuse. I hope to allow the feelings of each viewer to emerge according to their own experience. In remembering the darkness of being an injured child, they may see the light of being a healthy adult.
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