Paranoia as a System: The Balance

This assemblage was inspired by the personal anxiety of being overworked and the constant struggle to find a balance of work and play and, though hard to reach, having goals in sight. Starting fresh at a new college for the third time, this struggle remains. I would think that by my third school I would have a solid idea of what I want and will work towards, but that still has not come. For myself, the goals and ends represented on the top portion of the assemblage remain vague and typical because I do not know what these would even be for me.

The materials are mostly cardboard and tape, as it is itself built by hand out of nothing which is attributable to the life-building meaning behind the structure. The work takes on a symmetrical sense with a watch hanging on one post to represent time and the management of such, and the other a paint brush to represent art and hobbies and the way in which time flies when we are doing what we love. On the watch side sits a dictionary, calendar, and pens and paper which are familiar objects of work and productivity. On the paint brush side sits a more recreational book, a video game, and a felt representation of the comfort of pets. On top sits money, a mirror, a ring, and a ‘thumbs up!’ trophy, representing the things that we keep in mind as the fruit of our various goals whether in a career, love, or external validation by others.

The project visibly builds up from the ground towards the higher portion that displays symbols of success and reward. The rickety ladders, some steps missing and some broken, build upon objects of work and play make their way up to this higher section. It invokes a sense of movement upwards after being acquainted with the ground level. The movement upwards is the feeling that is essential throughout its meaning, being an end to which the means are both striving and validation and exhaustion and fallbacks.

Author: Ainsley Wilkinson