For the final project, I am returning to the thought process I had at the beginning of the semiology project. That is, I’m thinking about the moon and menstruation: the cyclical nature of the moon’s phases, the ebb and flow of tides, as well as the monthly cycle of a woman’s body in menstruation and pregnancy. I’m also comparing characteristics attributed to the moon and to women such as the phenomena of the Blood Moon and the Harvest Moon, symbols of fertility and fecundity, and the association of the moon with mystery and witchcraft. Moreover, the moon is often characterized as female in folklore and mythology- a symbol of female power, serenity, and mystery as well as the connection to madness- lunacy & hysteria; contrasted to the fiery, fearsome power of the masculine sun.
I want to make a series of rags, or ragged canvas, hanging on a clothesline, that present a gradient from deep red to nearly white. On each rag the spots of red will be presented in spherical and crescent forms reminiscent of the moon in its phases. The gradient will be most evident from a distance. I want to use dyes to create the forms and range of colors, which will start at a deep purple/red-brown and gradually transition to a pale pink/white. The rags on the clothesline reference older methods of hand-washing one’s menstrual cloths, methods still used in developing countries. The display of the cloths contradicts a history of shame, disgrace, and secrecy surrounding menstrual blood (“to wash your dirty laundry in public”). I am also considering adding to the space where the clothesline is displayed multiple stained cloths laid across the seats of chairs and benches in reference to the Biblical prohibition on sitting on or touching any place where a menstruating woman has sat (Leviticus 15: 25-27). Doing so would create a ubiquity of menstrual blood-stained objects, speaking to the commonality with which women in general view their period, and the way the world should view menstruation: a natural, normal, and healthy part of women’s lives, detached from shame, guilt, or notions of impurity.
This project addresses semiology, in the way I will use signifiers of the moon and of menstruation in comparison. Furthermore, it relates to my last project in that there is much speculation and untested medical advice to do with Lunar cycles and a woman’s period. I’ve found various websites explaining ways to track one’s menstrual cycle based on the moon’s cycle, in addition to herbs to take before and during menstruating that, to me, harken back to medieval reliance of herbal remedies.