October 29, 2020

Can we escape the belljar?

Margaret Preston

FilmCan we escape the Belljar?, 2020Life size installation


BELLJAR questions the r0le of social media memes and government sound bytes in eroding critical thought. My polytunnel was, ironically, the catalyst. It was a diversion, an exchange of one bubble (social media/news) for another (constructed, “safe” environment). How many people entered their own bubbles, laden with messages but no real exchange of ideas and no nurturing relationship with one’s peers? Worrisome! Thought is a fundamental part of being human: “I think, therefore I am.” Previous encounter “text” works; ‘SAVE LIVES’, made from shotgun cartridges and ‘PEACE’ made from rifle cartridges respectively, were the springboard. Belljar is conversely about lack of encounter and moment. And not being in possession of truth. Both ammunition pieces have associations which give context to the words , but are not the simple signifiers we understand. A jarred dancer experiences the oppression of dealing with omnipresent signage, but Belljar was still incomplete… Edge, Sylvia Plath’s final poem distilled my own concerns for the physical and mental environment that we are entering. It describes a mother killing her children. A metaphor for our relationship with mother earth? Like Plato’s Cave, The Belljar is of our own making…can we escape?