Crossing the Threshold by Sara Stamatiades


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Literary Artist Statement
A common pattern found in literature is the “Hero Journey”, the path that the protagonist of a story goes on in order to obtain a goal. The hero journey basically consists of being called to action, crossing the threshold, the road of trials, and the return. This format is constantly used throughout literature such as the books Candide and Brave New World.
On the left side of the art piece there are many objects that give the work a secure feeling. The first symbol of security is the brick wall, which shows the stability of the hero’s world. Along with the brick wall is the pillow on the bottom of the box, which represents comfort and safety. Above the pillow is a flashlight connected to a chord that attaches to the pillow. This light represents the known world of the hero that is powered by the comfort of his or her life. But contrasting the light is the shaded sunglasses and the two cards: a six and an eight, with a missing seven. Although the world is comforting and secure, the shaded sunglasses and card show that the hero really hasn’t seen the world yet and is missing something in life because of it. In the novel Candide, the protagonist Candide had been unjustifiably happy his whole life. He had been shaded from the true world by living in a castle and being brainwashed by a philosopher named Pangloss. When he is kicked out of his world of comfort and crosses the threshold, he opens his eyes by going through trials and realizes the darkness of the world. All of this is shown own the right side of the box. Suspended from the top the artwork is a bell. This bell represents the call to action that brings the hero to cross the threshold. The black background represents the unknown and treacherous world the hero has to face. Another step in the journey is the road of trials, which is represented by the three Girl Scout badges. Girl Scout badges are earned by completing challenging tasks, and through each task something is learned or accomplished. This is the same as the Road of Trials. Every hero must face fears and challenges in order to obtain some sort of knowledge. One example of gaining knowledge through the Road of Trials is John the Savage’s struggles from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. John the Savage departs from his home and crosses the threshold into a terribly different world from his own. He faces trials such as watching humans being created via assembly lines and watching his mother die through the hand of SOMA in order to understand the truth of the disgusting “brave new world”. This idea of brings me to the next symbol: the CD. CDs are used to record music, games, or in this instance information. The CD represents the knowledge that the hero gains at the end of the journey. On one side of the CD there is a picture of the world, signifying the hero’s new understanding of the world, and the other side is left blank. The blank side represents the knowledge the hero gains about his or herself due to the fact that the CD shows the reflection of whoever looks at the art piece. Above the CD is the missing seven of clubs. This card symbolizes that the hero found what they were missing in life before “crossing the threshold”. Finally, the once shaded sunglasses have become clear reading glasses with an open eye looking through the glass. This finalizes the work showing the hero’s new view on life, their change in perception, having their eyes opened, and along with the CD, the boon brought back to society upon his or her return.
This box was created through the collection of junk that was in my house, and then a process of thinking and staring at the objects until inspiration struck. Little by little the idea of the “hero journey” came after documenting my objects and realizing the idea of comfort, light, and being shaded with the contrasting concept of achieving knowledge. One of the most interesting objects to me was the CD. The CD could potentially represent so much: technology, information, music, etc. In the end, it proved to be a key piece in the artwork due to the fact that the gaining of knowledge is such a key part in the hero journey.