Sunday, 8 March 2015

Punctum Potion

This week's #secretsofselfpreservation / Apothéké potion links in very nicely with last week's "Selfies Are Self Care" potion.

In the accompanying blog post, I wrote about how selfies are a means of recording and capturing the moment; much as this entire project is. After all, as well as a self care tip each week, I am including a diaristic element of the week in the form of small objects in the potion bottle. So far these have included tea bags, Love Heart sweets, glitter, and plastic animals.

This week it's a miniature camera, because I have been sharing lots of photographs via my Instagram this week, and I have been following my instruction from last week to "Take more selfies".

Life is going surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) well at the moment. Therefore, I really want to stock up on good memories, both to help me over the next little inevitable hiccup, and also to cherish what I have. Photographs are a handy way of doing so, but I also want to get back to my visual diary and write more regularly in my written diary, too.

I have named the concoction "Punctum Potion". According to literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes, the "punctum" is the aspect (often a tiny detail) of a photograph which "pricks" us with personal feeling and associations; it jumps out at us, causing a sense of deja vu or nostalgia, causing us to fall in love with the photograph.

The small objects inside each potion bottle are punctum too; as I take out individual bottles as the project progresses, their contents recall where and what I was doing that week, how I was feeling. Of course, they do not have the accidental quality of punctum I would encounter in an art gallery or magazine, as I have selected each object because it elicits associations for me. However, I think if someone else were to unscrew the lid and tip the contents into their hand, they would discover a punctum, with a whole range of responses and associations as diverse as the people themselves.

Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

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