Underneath It All

Soci­ety seems to be in a mode of sep­a­ratism as it searches for a new iden­tity in this age of glob­al­iza­tion. I feel that it is dan­ger­ous to divide our­selves into sub­groups. Instead, we need to come together on com­mon ground, as humans, and not push our­selves apart by man-cre­ated-dif­fer­ences.

Think Cre­ation­ism vs. Dar­win­ism, black vs. white, cit­i­zen vs. immi­grant, and gay vs. straight. Many notions are played against each other with the sole pur­pose of cre­at­ing ten­sion and this makes no sense. Healthy soci­eties accept the human con­di­tion for what it is and value fac­tual infor­ma­tion.

I believe that we now face greater chal­lenges since both gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate enter­prise pro­file our behav­iors and inter­ests. The col­lected data, reflect­ing per­sonal choices, puts us in tighter boxes and it iso­lates us fur­ther.

Infor­ma­tion is being tai­lored to fit box-types in order to push prod­uct, and agen­das to spe­cific audi­ences, which keeps them in that box. In doing this, a mind­set is rein­forced instead of open­ing peo­ple to new expe­ri­ences or the under­stand­ing of ideas that chal­lenge a sta­tus quo. If peo­ple are iso­lated from each other or forced to com­pete against each other because of man-cre­ated-dif­fer­ences, then we will never attain peace­ful soci­eties where human life is respected and indi­vid­u­al­ity cel­e­brated.

Sur­veys asked peo­ple to cre­ate an auto-por­trait by cat­e­go­rize them self in six words from most too least impor­tant. I was ask­ing them to define who they thought they were and in doing so, they became a race, a sex, a reli­gious ori­en­ta­tion, a nation­al­ity, a sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, a job descrip­tion or a social posi­tion.

Along with their auto-por­trait of six traits, they donated a pair of their under­wear. The under­wear is being used as a metaphor, like the human being, it appears dif­fer­ently but yet it is the same, Under­neath it ALL.

Their six words and an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber are sand­blasted into a glass panel, which cov­ers an oak box hous­ing a person’s under­wear.

This piece demon­strates how we have been taught to dif­fer­en­ti­ate or clas­sify our­selves through social con­di­tion­ing, which I believe cre­ates sep­a­ratism. It iso­lates indi­vid­u­als from the estab­lished norm al la mode and is used to cre­ate hatred.

We must learn to strip away these lay­ers like cloth­ing to revile the naked human spirit or our vul­ner­a­bil­ity and replace social repres­sion with com­pas­sion, which will lead change. If we sup­port basic human rights, we can inte­grate and embrace diver­sity instead of fight­ing it.