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Text and Tongue

In Text and Tongue, I attempt to dislodge the stronghold of patriarchal language on my psyche and body. Through visual poems, comprised of digitally layered text and corporeal imagery, I play with words, the unconscious mind and sexual identity to challenge problematic language associated with women’s bodies and sexual expression. Text and Tongue incorporates stories from personal journalling, including records of dreams and nightmares, many of which derive from a period of trauma in my teens – the time I started to explore my sexuality. In this series, I generate new meanings over the female body through an interweaving of text and photography. Text and Tongue contains connections and contradictions between subjectivity, objectification and representation. In this series, I asserted myself as both photographer (author of meaning) and subject (symbol of contestation). 

Special thanks to Ontario Arts Council for its sponsorship.



The following are the texts associated with each of the pieces.

Conscious Unconscious “Language (visual, textual, corporeal) is both the interface and constraint between the conscious and unconscious minds. Its meanings are manifested on the conscious level, but its full form is a flowing caldron of information and emotions that lie below in the unconscious.”

Dead Words “Pealing away the dead language.” (repeats)

Empty Pit “She got tugged into the depths of the murky pond. Something monstrous had her below. She could hardly keep her head above the surface. Evil’s eyes looked upon me. Tried to drag me in. Evil commented that I had some special power.” (repeats)

Floating Dream “A theatre production was about to debut. I was preparing some of the stage props. I remembered an old metal cabinet that could be used for the show. I struggled for a long time to move and open the cabinet. Once I pried it open, I found dirt and a rotting cardboard box containing a heavy iron machine part inside.  I did not want to touch the filth, so I tipped the cabinet upside down. The contents spilled out onto the cement of the sidewalk. Most astonishing was an almost lifeless small animal that flopped out. It was taking its last breaths. I wasn’t concerned about it dying as I didn’t feel I was supposed to save it. I had to put the cabinet back together for the performance. I started closing its door, but it would not close shut. There were major structural problems. The cabinet was significantly dented and door hinges were loose. The only solution was to take the entire cabinet apart, straighten it out, and reaffix all parts. But I couldn’t find the screwdriver. I rushed back and forth between the floors of the old theatre looking for it. I soon found it out on the sidewalk, and the cabinet was reassembled in a frenzy. As the audience began to fill the auditorium, people pointed to the live birds flocking onto the stage. There were red ones and black ones. They waited for their performance upstage. One of the black ones hovered above centre stage. I looked forward to knowing this large and graceful stranger.”

Identity Spiral “Am I prepared to lose a chunk of my identity by tossing away a language that I know is no good for me?” (repeats)

Lavender Mesh “I have tied up so much of my energy into a language that does not represent me” (repeats)

Water Dream “Once the water was filled, he insisted he help me disrobe from behind. I felt his entrancement as he slowly slipped my clothing down my body. Once I got in, the tub melded tightly around my body and suctioned me to its bottom. I could not move. I was trying to masturbate, but kept getting interrupted. I finally got up to lock the door. Most of the water was now spilling over the floor tiles. The water took its time disappearing down the drain.”

Without Language “Who am I without language?”  (repeats)

  2014  /  photographic collage  /  Last Updated December 16, 2023 by tascencao  /