A project about Peace of Mind.
[pictured here is me in 1999. The world was falling down around me at the time, and I didn't know it yet. This was the calm before the storm.]
When I was little I couldn’t sleep many nights because I was worried.
My mom would have me write that worry down or draw it, fold it up,
and put it in her sock drawer. She promised me she wouldn’t look at it and that I could have it back at any time if I wanted it, but for that moment I needed to sleep and so for peace of mind my worries were in her sock drawer now, not in my mind. This worked countless nights I was wide awake riddled with what I didn’t know at the time
to be anxiety.
Now I want to extend a modified version of this service to you. I’m your mom now, give me what makes you anxious. Give me what reminds you of trauma or heartbreak. Let me take it off your hands and give it a respectful resting place.
- Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Madison Juliana Alexander is a multi-media experimental artist from Chicago. Alexander works with issues of visibility and finding catharsis using her own experience as a catalyst for conversation. Through installation, performance, and participatory prompts Alexander engages her audience physically with her work to allow them to feel connected to her and to be able to project their own personal experiences onto what she presents. She has found that when she shares her trauma, people feel empowered to share their own which is a step towards healing. In 2018 she began work on the “Cabinet of Curiosities” project where she explores the spaces that encase trauma, and the debris left behind. To do this she asked participants to donate objects that they associate with anxiety, sorrow, or trauma that they feel are too precious to throw out, but too painful to keep. These objects are being archived to take part of someone’s trauma and keep it safe, so they don’t have to shoulder the burden alone.
My practice is about soul-searching. We all have things in our lives that are hard to grapple with and it is my firm belief that we all deserve to make peace with our situations, our surroundings, and our lives. The model I work within is lead by example. Talk is cheap but action is difficult. Without growing pains however we remain stagnant, and stagnation to me is the worst thing you can accept for yourself. I observe people around me accepting the world at face value and thinking that they have to fit into the pre-selected molds society has cut for them. What I want is for people to question this mentality.
The model is quite simple; I identify something that is hard to talk about and I talk about it. At the moment everything I have covered has come from a very personal place: anxieties over sex and sexuality, coming from extreme poverty, being raised by a single parent, etc. I’ve always felt like I have the world on my shoulders and what helped me lessen that burden has been to talk about it. And I want to extend that relief to others because I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
I work mainly through interactive art installations, performance, and media such as photography and video to document performances; especially those done in private. The “finished product” is always a mix of “fine art” objects I have made, found materials, and interactive prompts that come together in a full sensory experience for the viewers. My practice is about vulnerability, honesty, and finally catharsis* for all because it is my true belief that we all deserve the peace that comes from this kind of growth.
*I used to think of taboo as my umbrella theme, but I think that was an oversimplification. As we move into the internet age we can see more and more of humanity and I think that gives less agency to the idea of “taboo” because no matter what you’re into you will find others into the same thing through the internet, and thus more emphasis is put on identity and morality. I haven’t covered morality or dove deep into philosophy yet, but stay tuned