I don’t know what it is specifically, but mannequins unnerve me. I have been volunteering at a local history museum for the last year and there are a number of theses silent watchers sprinkled around the exhibits. Most of them are broken, their qualities amplified by the mood of the old building, the wind creaking against its roll up doors and metal windows, and my solitude while cataloging. Where once I found them merely offensive to my feminist leanings, these ladies have also taken on — in the moments I don’t keep my imagination in check– the role of weeping angels, and I am reticent to stand too close (or take pictures of them) while alone. Damn Dr. Who reruns.
Last summer, I found this delightful subject being prepared for a new exhibit and was itching to work with her. The best of the lot, I was fascinated by the lines across her body– not only is she a ubiquitous representation of a generic (and unreasonable) ideal, her malleability to others’ wishes is actually built in. Brilliant! Knowing I had only a few days to catch her before she was dressed as a WWII housewife and docilely placed in her assigned exhibit, I rallied my courage to meet her gaze through the lens finder whilst alone.
Gracefully I was, at the time, working on an exhibit with a very kind and understanding social anthropologist who was willing to stay with me a few minutes after we finished cataloging one day, keeping an eye on my subject – and my safety, lol- while I played.