An interactive sculpture by Ashley Eva Brock
I invite you to hold these spheres in your hands. You must hold them both, one in each hand, or they will topple.
We live in a world full of diametrically opposed realities, all tethered and tangled to each other. Whether or not we accept this fact will greatly affect our ability to successfully navigate the world. This is an interactive sculpture I made as a tool to practice holding the diametrically opposing realities necessary in navigating my relationship with my mother, though I’ve found it’s useful for many other subjects as well.
One reality is that my mother is not merely kind, loving, generous, gentle, intelligent, selfless, attentive, and patient, but almost supernaturally so. When I got sick as a child, she would lie in bed with me and tell me to give her all my sickness, that she would gladly take all of it to relieve even a tiny bit of my suffering. I was never told to stop crying when I was in pain, and was never given the answer “Because I said so” or “I don’t know, it just is” to any of my questions. I was given patience, attentive engagement, and overall, a truly magical childhood. I know beyond a doubt that I am deeply loved for exactly who I am, no matter what. I am exceedingly lucky for this.
Another reality, just as factual, is that my mother is mentally ill and an alcoholic. She has abundantly lied, manipulated, and stolen from me. I’ve been disappointed, betrayed, and frightened by her. Throughout the years, I’ve done a lot of work trying to figure out how to protect myself from being hurt by her and her diseases while still remaining open to the wonderful, nourishing things about her and our relationship. This sculpture is my way of abstracting and externalizing a concept so that it can be fed into the psyche through physical engagement.
Some other opposing realities to contemplate:
• The joy of falling in love/the pain of heartbreak
• The pleasure of an addictive substance or behavior/the suffering it creates
• Child-like whimsy and wonderment/adult responsibility and wisdom
• The ignorance, racism, sexism, homophobia etc. that exists in the United States/the invigorated political & intellectual engagement, willingness to listen and learn, and the progress towards compassion that’s being made daily