n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


For one of my print classes, we've had to come up with a "self-identity" button (using Illustrator), which we're to send off and have mass produced.

It's been a total stumper for me... not the actually making something, but the actually coming up with an idea about my self-identity. Made me really pause and reject any one part of me as encompassing enough to act as a stamp of self.

So, finally I went to folklore...
Kenyon Self-Button

(the outer black circle with the text on it will be on the wrap-around side of the button)

Basically, it's a spin off the story I used for my tattoo, which I got more as a reminder than an identity. In the Haida fish (Pacific NW Native artwork), which I have on my arm, is a little figure who represents the ancestors. The story goes that when they die, the ancestors ride on the back of salmon and steer them back each summer to feed their children. The fish itself partially represents cycle, but also of resurgence, and so the combination reminds how history and community steer both cycle and resurrection.

But I've been thinking quite a bit about the Raven, who is both a Prometheus figure said to have pried humans out of a clam shell and then stole the sun for them; and also a trickster devil of crass and wicked ways. He's also supposed to represent Art, which makes the most sense I've ever heard of as a description of art... crass, tricky, sneaky, cunning, self-centered and yet through all the mischief and mistakes and fuck-ups, ends up bringing something new.

So, I decided to combine these two in my self-identity button, and think of it as the Raven doing something with history, cycle, and language... maybe eating it, maybe licking it, maybe taking it someplace new, or maybe just torturing the poor fish and our family. Who knows? That's why I like folklore, and in particular PacNW stories of How. I guess I just identify with combination stories, even if I'm not sure I'd claim it as Identity.

(p.s. I know I'm not a very good artist of Native American design, but it makes me admire the ones who are that much more!)
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