Translating autoethnography through objects: Social Butterfly

(Self-portrait in Coco Rouge 25)


This work emerged as a practice of autoethnography. In considering ways of documenting my life that offered unusual detail or perspective, I began to ponder the ritualized ways in which we present ourselves to others.

I own only one lipstick (Coco Rouge 25) and decided to document the occasions when I chose to wear it over a period of five months. Whenever I applied the lipstick I blotted it on whatever source of tissue was nearby, noted some details of where I was, what I was doing or how I was feeling and kept the tissue.

The results carried more information than I’d anticipated. The quality of paper, for example, gave interesting clues as to the nature of my surroundings, the quality of the print itself offering indications of both mood and circumstance, the whole carrying something of my DNA.

The fluttering, delicate pieces were reminiscent of butterfly wings and so the work was displayed pinned to a felted cork board, allowing the leaves to ruffle and flutter in response to the breath and the passage of others.

Self portrait in Rouge Coco 25

The work was exhibited in the Re:See It exhibition, Art’s Complex, Edinburgh, April 20-29 2012

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