Vulnerability, protection, and expansion are themes featured throughout the work of Carrie Mae Rose. To bring a heightened sense of caution and reverence, Rose literally uses materials that can inflict deadly injury. Her work is born out of her personal need to be safe enough to feel beautiful. The agaves, scissors and razors are a physical material that offer protection to empower her own sensuality and femininity. She enjoys playing with the edge, the fine line between opening and being ripped open physically, emotionally and spiritually. How does one experience sublime vulnerability, devastatingly beautiful perfection?
Over the years Rose’s work has evolved from sculptures made from recycled material to creating installations with technology that offer the viewer an experience of their own fragility, glory and sacredness. Her art evokes questions such as - What brings a feeling of protection? Does armor, protective clothing or security measures at airports make one feel more safe? Does meditation or spiritual connection bring a sense of security?
Carrie Mae Rose is currently developing a newer body of work, a series of illuminated Bodycrowns: Poetic Models of Future Garments for Space Emigration. These wearable sculptures integrate 3D printed technology / sensors / power / lights to visualize the movement of subtle electrical circulations around the physical body and how the sculptures interact with the breath and other unseen forces.
Ultimately no physical weapon will keep us safe. Physical weapons offer a false promise. The exploration of new materials and subtle body physiology offer potential development of a new type of protective garment for survival during future space emigration.
MORE IN DEPTH EXPLANATION OF MY WORKS EVOLUTION
AGAVES - At the start of the new millenium, in 2000, I began working with the desert-grown agave plant. The agave maintains a tender sweet center within its beautiful radial structure of barbed and pointed stalks. These leaves protect it from nectar and water seeking animals. When approaching the agave plant, one must be aware and respectful of this armor. Similarly, we each need love and touch yet also respect and honor. In my own life, as a child I lacked the ability to protect myself. I was violated and consequently I did not learn how to allow others treat me with reverence. My nectar, my center, continued to be handled indiscriminately. My struggle to strike this delicate balance of vulnerability and safety inspired this first body of work.
SCISSORS - When I moved to NYC in 2007, I started using the term Wearable Weapons somewhat ironically because I began building sculptures and wearables from confiscated scissors from airports that the government had defined as 'Weapons of Mass Destruction.' Wearable Weapons began by exploring themes of personal intimacy and the dynamics that mark intimate relationships – the need to feel safe and protected when being vulnerable and the delicate boundaries between opening up and the chance to be hurt. When I speak of vulnerability, I speak about the other half of the equation which is protection. We cannot have one without the other; they define each other.
RAZORS - In 2010, a book-maker friend of mine gave me thousands of used razor blades. I am fascinated by the concept of devastating beauty. Something so beautiful that it can create a big opening. The hurts-so-good kind of feeling. I like this edge. Women have been historically labeled as both nurturing and dangerous, both goddess and whore. I like representing both the softness of the Virgin Mary and the fierceness of the Goddess Kali by decorating the naked female body with razor blade collars.
FIRE & ELECTRICITY - The quality of intense vulnerability and opening feels like burning to me and this is why I like researching and building using electricity and fire. Also, if the Gods wore armor, what would the substance of their armor be? My answer is Fire. Pure Fire. Pure intensity and impenetrable burning density. I decided to represent this Fire-of-the-Gods by using real fire and electricity. These Wearable Weapon concepts are intended to provoke and inspire and protect those who wears them. Ultimately the Violet Wand collar and Fire Dress were too dangerous to make at this time.
Physical weapons offer a false promise and nothing can keep my body truly safe from death.
My life experience and sensitivities have molded me to think about survival in extreme environments. I now turn my attention and focus to how we will survive as a species and the ultimate protection from destruction and death. Capitalism is killing our environment and with global warming, I feel we all need to consider what is next. As the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says: Our only chance of long term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.
In 2012, I received a Computational Fashion Fellowship with Eyebeam Art & Technology Center. I began questioning when would humanity truly need garments that were embedded with technology. I am exploring how our physiology will change and what it be need in the ultimate frontier of space.
PHASE 1 - Inspired by the work of philosopher Rudolf Steiner and occultist Max Heindel, these sculpture are physical explorations of the changes in the etheric body (the layer of life force / electrical meridians of chi in Chinese Medicine / prana of yoga / the nadis of Ayurveda) that will occur during the human transition to space. In collaboration with battery expert Dr. Dan Steingart, I developed these to poetically model the movement of these subtle electrical circulations around the physical body.
This statement captures exactly the changes I foresee humans undergoing: between 2028 - 2045, ‘humanity begins the transition from a terrestrial to a solar species’ as articulated by the Rockwell Integrated Space Plan. As humanity begins to emigrate to space and live in enclosed space station environments, there are potentially devastating physical, psychological and spiritual changes that will take place. We will need help from subtle and non-visible forces.
PHASE 2 - I am now currently developing more abstracted poetic models for a material substance that will be used to build future garments worn in space. This model will eventually be able to simultaneously power, illuminate and circulate a certain type of very subtle electrical current around the human body interacting with the brainwaves and heartbeat.
Currently the technology is not available to build the full flexible structures necessary to support the human body during permanent space emigration. In the future, nano-tech material will be built with precious metals, precious gems and minerals - a field / substance / garment that enhances and strengthens the human physiology when it is far away from the Earth's natural water cycles, air cycles, composting cycles, and tectonic cycles.
All who are upon the path, whether the path of occultism or mysticism, are weaving the ‘golden wedding garment’ by both inner alchemical work and by outer service, whereby they transmute the body, building it into the incorruptible body of light, which the aspirant weaves, thread by golden thread, deed by selfless deed. By sacrifice and service the ‘golden wedding garment’ forms as an amalgamation of the golden substance ‘emanated from and by the spirit of the sun,’ which, when of sufficient density, shall enable us to ‘soar into the higher spheres.’ - Max Heindel
I love the future.
Carrie Mae Rose