Side note: My mind is blown from all the kind responses and rad submissions Doll Hospital is getting! Keep them coming!!
My official holiday for summer 2014 was a two day trip to Dartmoor with my Grandparents. Last year I went to Margate. I lead a glamorous life.
Jk. It was special and awesome.
Plus the bay (right word?) reminded me somuch of the Hijikata movie 'Horrors of Malformed Men' that I spent the whole time being all:
And all the old fisherman dudes were like wtf is this shit.
The bed and breakfast place was creepy.
Shining levels of creepy.
[Though I think my super power in life is turn anything into a horror film situation.]
And if you drove for like two seconds everything turned into, like, the set of Maleficent, or something:
Socks and sandals with a novelty Shrek t-shirt from Primark (a birthday gift) as the ultimate forest witch ensemble.
Holidays in British are so terribly, well...British! Ice cream trucks in the rain may be a funny story in the 1940s, but now, they feel like a sort of parody of and in themselves. The thing about holidays in the UK is that they could be at any moment in time, at any month in the year. How's that for time travel? This applies to all facets of 'British' cultural identity in all honesty.
We ate ham rolls in the rain to celebrate my Grandad's birthday, we were stalked by an orange man, which was funny at first, but then we all got freaked out and thought he was an escaped convict who was going to murder us all.
And the car interior looked like a face.
(the orange man's face??)
Skeletal ponies at Dartmoor which resulted in this disturbing exchange between my grandparents:
"Roger! Roger! look at the horse's penis!"
"Really, it'll only take a second Roger!"
Idk man, my Grandparents are weird.
I'm not sure if it was because I'd done an exam on 'Discipline and Punish' the day before, or because there an unspoken contract that holidays in the UK have to be Deeply Depressing but we ended up going to the prison museum in Dartmoor.
Which was ill-fitting and uncomfortable as we know someone in the actual Dartmoor prison.
It was a macabre and deeply unpleasant experience, which I suppose is an adequate reflection of how those on the 'outside' view those on the 'inside'. You could buy t-shirts and novelty mugs in the gift shop. Garden gnomes were also on sale, painted by people in the prison, people who don't have homes right now, let alone gardens. There was a glass cabinet of objects people had actually self harmed with, taken away and put on display. They called that part The Black Museum. And my Grandma kept joking that it was like Oxford (which was just no). She also accidentally hit me with the car door when we were leaving. So yeah.
H.M.Prison Dartmoor Eraser-80's indie song a la Morrissey or grotesque holiday souvenir?
See also this book in a church gift shop.
Now I've killed ur happy July vibezz have a mood board thing, of random postcards I picked up while I was away:
Caroline Appleyard, Egino Weinert, Last Supper, Dom Robert, The Sheep, Dom Robert, Chasing Butterfly, Dom Robert, Lamb.
Okay! So you know how, like two months ago, I tweeted about starting a zine talking about mental health stuff?
[And if not side eye to you for not have an encyclopaedic knowledge of my digital footprint.]
But yeah, the response was exciting.
Like really exciting.
So I start thinking what if this is more than a zine?
What if I could keep the rad ethos of community and creativity of zine culture but create something that can reach more people than a small circle of tumblr and twitter? People who might not necessarily know what a zine is but know what it's like to stop breathing on the way to class, to stop eating, to want it to end, but to want, to not want, to feel like this?
And this is what I want Doll Hospital to be. A title that not un-coincidentally happens to be my url for like everysocial mediathing. Cos I'm unoriginal. And also because I like how the words look all typed out in the address bar.
Doll Hospital is an art and literature journal on mental health.
It will be a print journal.
Because whilst I am very much of a
**--product---*** of the ***-digital age---**
I believe print is the best medium for this project- a refuge away from toxic comment sections and constant link skipping. Something tangible to slip in your book bag and read on the bus. Print is not dead, and I think **--our generation--** [gag] is providing the most exciting contributions to print, not despite of the internet, but because of it. After all I would not have discovered the zine community if it was not for tumblr.
It should be free, charging a bunch of money for something on mental health is gross and just no! It should be accessible for anyone who wants to read it. So whilst I envision it as a print journal that could be picked up in like book stores and galleries and doctor's waiting rooms and stuff, I need to think of ways for it to be accessible for people who live in different places. I'm thinking an online shop? If you pay for post and packaging you can pay w/ever you want for the journal itself, even nothing at all. Because survival is a right not a privilege.
It will prioritise beautiful art, literature, personal and philosophical essays, short stories and poetry, whilst not being too lofty or pretentious: in the sense that the personal musings of a teenage girl's experience with anxiety is just as welcome as say an Oxford university academic writing on a super interesting art movement surrounding, I dunno, the unconscious or something.
It needs to be intersectional!! The history of mental health is closely tied in with the history of race, class, colonialism and disability and I am keen to emphasise this. Like my depression, ocd and anxiety is connected to my neurovariance and to my status as a survivor, and the way these things are perceived, and how they are dealt with, are shaped by my class and race. Whilst my disability stuff lives in perpetual conversation with everything, and I know Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (which I have) is linked to depression and anxiety so I think it's all kinda mushed up together, y'kno?!
One thing I am especially interested in is to move beyond the two archetypes of 'mental illness': the tortured white man genius (see the canonisation/Cobainification of David Foster Wallace) and the fragile, skinny, white girl, loved not despite of, but because of, her 'illness' (ick). White girls riding around on unicorns (no offence Kirsten Dunst). Thinspo. My tumblr circa 2010. You get the idea. Let's go beyond on that. Challenge that. We can do better. We need to do better.
And this is where you come in! Whilst I have some amazing submissions and contributors already (omg so good) I want your work too!
I'd love to read your writing, your stories, your poetry, your essays, see your photos, publish your collages, just everything basically!!
I am interested in subjects related to trauma, surviving, community, class, race, anti-blackness, addressing how certain mental illnesses are stigmatised more than others, discussing how hard it is to admit you struggle with mental health when you are pathologized, Othered so much already, so just wanna act like you lead this perfect, overachieving life 24/7, the history of mental health, of institutions, of control, female hysteria and all that, how vulnerability exists in different bodies, particularly the bodies of woman of colour, womanist reflections, feminist discourse, community activism, your fave movies, self care tips, recommended resources on recovery, fashion as self care, when the trope of self care fails, being a survivor and just like a million other things too.
If you are interested, or would just like to share your thoughts on the project, drop me an email at:
Also if you would be interested in sponsoring this project or advertising with us, drop me an email also!!
I am currently applying for funding so I can actually pay contributors (not happy with the idea of ppl working for free for me-nope-nope-nope) and y'kno actually print the darn thing(!) But to make this a sustainable project I definitely need to look beyond art grants and towards other outlets.
Also! Also! I approached Eline (who runs Perma Pupae) in June to be my co-editor (and she said yes! hooray!)She has already done so much to turn my floaty ideas into a real actual thing, and I am so blessed to be working with her on this. Ah!
Oh, hey. No time no blog. Or at least no time no real blog, because even though I have always been a girl who copy and pastes her feelings, image urls aren't quite the same as the (type) written word are they? I finished my Oxford finals last week and can now actually make Milk Teeth a priority again.
So this is what I wore today yesterday, the Sesame Street halloween t-shirt is from Primark from like two years ago, and I am wearing it in July because everyday is halloween, the skirt is from A Wear (a now defunct Irish high street chain), the tights are from Ebay and the sandals are my Mums. After I took these I went to this weird garden centre/market place thing and drank rose lemonade in a bubbled glass. I sat on a wooden bench with bird shit on. Next to ugly stone ponies. Next to a field of Christmas tree saplings, nurturing the festive spirit in July. The market bit was peculiar in just the right way, I bought a trinket box shaped like a snail (lift the shell and put your things in). And I debated buying a hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil pepper pot with china mongooses (I thought it was meant to be monkeys but w/ever). I ate hard and porous honeycomb on the ride home and listened to the Shangri-las.
I was feeling inspired by:
Torkil Gudnason for Mademoiselle magazine, March 1984, Holly Rose Emery & Grace Hartzel styled by Rich Aybar & photographed by Chad Moore for Out of Order FW13/14, Maison Martin Margiela fall/winter 2010, Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth...
....And of course Kyary Pamyu Pamyu:
I really like the socks and sandals (well tights and sandals) look. A swings and roundabout reminder that what is desperately uncool, in a cliche goes with out saying, not going down on the fashion barometer cos it was never in the running sort of way, is totally interchangeable, with 'gee wizz let me upload this onto my fashion blog'. Not that this is really a fashion blog...I just like pictures, organising pictures, arranging pictures and putting together outfits, documenting outfits, thinking about outfits, is simply a fun way to do that.
It was my birthday last Thursday (I turned 23!) so it feels like a good time to have an annual 'this was my year' (as seen through my phone at least) sort of picture dump. Yes I did go to the Harry Potter studios. Yes that is my cat wearing a Zayn Malik mask. Yes I am extremely cool. Thank you for asking.
If that visual diarrhoea had an implicit narrative it may have passed me by. 2013-2014: the year I saw a fish, a cake and a balloon! Riddle me that. Idk. I guess 'looks right' is enough of a story for today.
Oh and I went to Barbara Kruger show at Modern Art Oxford and have a rather demonic document of the whole experience via my Blackberry:
Despite the relationship between text and images, the gaps between the two, the failings of the two, the idea of drawing with pictures, painting with words...poetry as architecture and all that crap being my number one obsession I am a little bored of the short statement as image as art model of visual culture. Whilst, there are of course excellent examples of this genre, I certainly like a good Jenny Holzer/Ed Ruscha/Lawrence Wiener, and understand and appreciate its history: advertising, propaganda, Guy Debord...all that jazz, it simply does not really excite me any more. I'm bored. To go all Kruger-y on you I want more! More! More!
Speaking of text as image, some ahem 'graffiti' in my college library in Oxford, taken in the little cubby hole where I spent the early summer months.
....aandd to end on a high-a midnight selfie of me with with a cast iron saint in the graveyards of Oxford. Just coz.