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TAMING THE CHAOTIC MIND 

          

LIBBY ROWE

It was recently brought to my attention that 15% of people do not have an inner dialogue. This fact blew my mind into an internal dialog firestorm that was absolutely deafening for the following week. What do these people have going on in their heads… how do they think of what they need to accomplish… prepare for phone conversations with strangers or businesses… rehash arguments to find the perfect response if only 14 years too late? This week-long process of researching the phenomenon brought me to a startling realization that my head was incredibly noisy all the time. Rarely am I ever able to focus on one task without the noise of other pressing business or time-wasting activity infecting my mind space. 

 

It also brought me to study the differences between male and female brain chemistry and function. I have marveled at the ability of men in my life to compartmentalize their thoughts and their roles. When they are at work, they work, when they are at home, they relax, when the lawn needs mown, they mow, when the tv is on, forget having a conversation. When it is time to leave the house, they walk out the front door, paying no mind to the lights that have been left on, the dog that needs feeding prior to our return, the child who just decided to go to the bathroom though they were given warning 15 minutes prior to leaving by me. They leave behind the kid’s snack bag for the car trip, the longest charger cable for the iPad that will be used in the back seat…I could go on.

 

The ability of men to compartmentalize has long been a source of jealousy for me. I don’t want to be male, but once I realized that they, in addition to those who have no internal dialog, are not constantly bombarded with this mental chaos I must admit, I thought about enacting change. This installation visually represents the different sources of the noise that often renders me unable to begin any one task. Drawing from from visual representations of objects that hang or dangle, everyday items that are suspended: car sale triangle banner lines, clothes drying on a line, swings on a swing set, strings of lights, chandeliers, birds on a telephone line, etc, each of these objects represent different aspects of life. The objects are overlaid with imagery and text from visual references to the myriad attention demanding thoughts, ideas, and bits of information that fuel the chaos that exists within my, and many contemporary women’s, minds. 

 

Because of the irregular silhouetted shapes of the objects, the images representing thoughts and obligations will be edited and incomplete referencing how quick and fleeting this information is experienced mentally.

 

Ultimately, viewers should feel overwhelmed by the multifaceted and intricate tangle of visual cacophony contained within the space. My intent with this experiential piece is to give a physical embodiment that conveys the chaos I experience each day.