Tuesday, March 29

Ethiopian Protective Scroll Posted by Hello

Questions Are the Bane of My Existence, or, Anyone Who Tells You That “There Are No Stupid Questions” is Either A Liar, An Idiot, or Selling Something

This scroll was created protect me from stupid, rude, prying, inappropriate and otherwise annoying questions. Perhaps I am a bit immature, but it’s not just silly, pointless, or redundant questions that get on my nerves; it drives me bonkers to be asked any question at all. It would not, however, be practical to have a scroll that protects me from all questions, so I made it to guard against unnecessary and annoying ones.
The reason I hate being asked questions probably has to do with the fact that I work at a call center for a shipping company and my job is to answer questions all day long—usually the same idiotic questions over and over again such as: “This sticker says ‘peel backing from other side’—how do I do that?” and, “Do you need to know that I’m sending a urine specimen?” and my personal favorite, “What phone number did I just call?” It could also be the result of a lifetime of in-your-face parenting I’ve received as an only child. For some reason, being an only child means that about 90% of your conversations with your parents consist of them asking you annoying questions—often the same ones over and over again, like, “Since when don’t you drink cream and sugar in your coffee?” and, “What do you mean, you don’t like cauliflower?” and, “Have I told you how much weight I’ve lost since Christmas?”
The tedium of being forced to endure these pointless and endless questions is enough to make a person scratch their eyes out—or worse. This feeling is represented by the image at the top of my scroll, that of a child in a pose much like the figure in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The boy is pulling the skin of his own face in an expression of pure exasperation while multitudes of question marks dance around his head and eventually make their way into his ear. The long, thin scroll was the perfect format for elongating and stretching this image to get even more of a resemblance to “The Scream,” I also stretched the bottom image to mirror this effect.
The question marks all around the boy’s head appear to have him hemmed in, trapped; he will never get away from questions unless he becomes a recluse or dies. His face is pulled and distorted in anguish because he knows he must endure so many tedious inquiries while traipsing the halls of life. The symbol in the scroll’s center is very simple: a question mark with the international sign for “no” over it. I chose this symbol because it is easily recognizable and sums up the concept of this scroll without using any words. Stretched as it is, the question mark almost begins to resemble a face with its mouth open, like the boy in the top photo.
The lower picture shows two men in the poses of Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil, pulled long to accommodate both the format of the scroll and to mimic the image at the top. The concept of hear no evil and speak no evil completes this scroll. Speak no evil to me in the form of idiotic questions so that I will hear no evil and you will see no evil perpetrated by me upon your person. Just above it is a list giving examples of the type of queries banned by the scroll, ending in the most ironic of all stupid questions, “Can I ask a stupid question?” which answers itself because yes, obviously you can ask a stupid question. You just did.
I chose the back of a jersey fabric flocked with black velvet designs for the verso side of my scroll. This was done purely for aesthetic reasons so that the design side would be scroll’s recto side and would be interesting to look at as well. The photo and text areas were printed using Microsoft Word and were placed on the scroll using iron-on transfer printer paper.