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ShadowBall - Scottie by Design

welcome to the ShadowBall

 

the part of the show where the messages that have held us captive are put on display.

 

we are all victims of the shadows. hurt by narratives, beliefs, and structures that serve to imprison us.

 

come. and. see.

Convicted

we are taught what to believe is right and wrong. we are taught what sin is. that sin exists.

this piece reminds us that religious teachings are teachings. that we do not have to believe simply because we were taught.

adulteress. skank. whore. used goods. 

wilted rose. decimated currency. 

the wages of sin is death.

 

unless you lie.

 

just lie.

lie.

you are doomed to die unless you lie.

 

they don’t need to know that I am human. 

that my baby is human.

that I am not a virgin. 

lie. 

we are all yearning for a false reality. for an unattainable ideal. 

 

I can be that image of perfection. 

purely procreative. 

just lie. 

just pretend. 

ignore the truth. 

the source of my son. call it god. blessed are those who believe.

 

live in the glory of my lies. and may those lies be passed down among the imperfect. may those lies keep the generations buried in their shame. blinded by their fear. deluded by my delusions.

remember.

 

 I am doomed to die, unless I lie. so let them die clinging to my lie.

blessed are those who believe. may they die to my lie.

eternal life is mine if I lie.

blessed are the liars, for they shall, inherit the earth.

materials: thrifted sheets and a crown made by Eimee Diaz (@aimesmode)

model: Martinique (@martiniquefashionmodel)

voices: Mary Beth Schaye (@chezshaye) and Martinique (@martiniquefashionmodel)

Addicted

how many of us use substances to numb ourselves? or to try to pretend that our pain doesn't exist?

this piece represents the ways that we have learned to conceal our pain, insecurities and fears in our substances.

i need a smoke.

a drink.

a hit.

something.

anything.

to numb my pain.

to silence my fears.

to blur my thoughts.

 

i cannot afford to face my self.

what would i be without the caress of my substances.

what are we without substance?

without liquid courage.

without one more drag.

a couple more hits.

 

please don’t let me feel the things i fear.

please don’t let me feel the things I fear.

please don’t let me feel the things I fear.

 

protect me from my shadows. keep them in the dark.

 

a harmless habit.

followed by a sea of cigarette butts and empty bottles.

the earth will bear my pain.

her beaches will carry what i refuse to see.

her beaches will carry my refuse.

her oceans bobbing my bottled messages.

 

she is a mother after all. isn’t that what mothers do?

materials: top and skirt made from used cigarette butts adhered to discarded plastic bags. purse made from a tequila bottle. necklace made from used pill bottles.

model: Yummee (@yummeeeee)

voices: Kirstie (@kirstie_anna), diAmante (@heisdiamante), Hannah (@hmm.hannah.marie), Scottie (@scottieraeeskelund)

Restricted

at the center of so many eating disorders and distorted body image is a

yearning for controlwhen we have been surrounded by instability and a lack

of safety we learn to try to control what we can. and oftentimes folks find they

can control food, weight, exercise, and calories. that they can control themselves. that they can simulate peace through controlling themselves. what if there is another way?

you can only control yourself. 

you can control yourself. control yourself. 

control. 

numbers. 

weight. 

calories. 

control.

one more rep.

one more workout.

one more rep.

one more workout.

mind over matter.

control.

 

grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

change.

change.

i can change.

i can restrict.

i can control.

i can’t eat.

i won’t eat.

i can change.

i can have the body my mother wanted for me.

wanted for herself.

restriction.

restricted.

 

the mind is strong but the body is weak.

weak.

i am weak.

i am bad.

but that can change.

just one more workout.

one more skipped meal.

then i will be happy.

 

if i.

just.

don’t.

eat.

materials: dress made from discarded measuring tape. purse made from a scale. vintage Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition painted in blood saying "do not eat."

model: Brooke (@hiit.sbrooke)

voice: Hannah (@hmm.hannah.marie)

Depicted

in a world surrounded by social media and online presences, we often find ourselves performing for an audience, curating our external images, and proving our worth to the outside world. meanwhile, we find ourselves feeling lonely, disconnected, and depressed. what if we allowed people to see how we really feel? if we allowed people to see all of us?

depiction.

i want to be seen.

well, not seen entirely.

i want my life to be like a scene. 

a perfectly scripted,

edited

and packaged scene. 

 

what if my life was not how i depict it?

that not every moment is a perfect cheers.

that life is not a perpetual party.

that sometimes i’m sad and am terrified it might drown me.

that my loneliness feels crippling at the end of a perfect day.

that sometimes i just don’t want to get out of bed.

 

don’t let them see.

see you.

the real you.

distract them.

show them what you want them to see.

 

a perfect home. 

a perfect date.

perfect wardrobe. 

perfect makeup.

perfect adventures. 

just perfect.

 

don’t let them see.

see your sadness.

your loneliness.

your nakedness.

 

hide.

pretend.

perform.

cover up with the photos you take.

 

life is supposed to be perfect.

buy.

consume.

promote.

sell.

and then i will be happy.

 

there may be a trail of last season’s fashion in my wake.

but at least i will look happy.

and looks are everything.

 

right?  

materials: skirt and top made from receipts. used selfie sticks holding disposable cameras in each hand.

model: Evan Maquette (@evan.maquette)

voice: diAmante (@heisdiamante)

Conflicted

this piece is about the way that bodies and interests are gendered.

a parent gets an ultrasound and is told the gender of their baby based on their genitals. and that gender determines that baby's destiny. it tells the parents what their child will be interested in, who they will marry, what their personality will be like. all before that baby is born.

what if that baby doesn't like what it is supposed to? what if that baby likes something that is different from the expectations of their parents? could it be okay for a person to like what they like regardless of what is between their legs?

your body is a boy.

a sports guy.

a man’s man.

a police officer.

mechanic.

firefighter.

coach.

leader.

owner.

 

your body is a boy.

not feminine.

not emotional.

not tender.

not a ballerina.

artist.

designer.

not beautiful.

and certainly not delicate.

 

so be a good boy.

a good boy.

not a good person.

not a good human.

a good boy.

 

so what if they knew?

that i love the feeling of new nylons.

that i dance the night away in my room.

that i hide in the closet just to get closer to my mother’s heels.

what if they knew.

what if they saw.

saw the ways that i am a bad boy.

 

so will you i be a bad boy?

will i risk the loss of every one for my stupid interests?

are my interests really worth more than my parents' love?

 

don’t be a bad boy.

your body determines your destiny.

don’t let your interests deceive you.

 

boys are boys.

girls are girls.

two sentences that mean nothing, yet impact everything.

materials: corset and dick cast made from melted plastic shopping bags. tutu made from dry cleaning plastic.

model and voice: Scottie Eskelund (@scottieraeeskelund)

Contradicted

our society is obsessed with the connection between body parts and gender. many folks who are transgender experience judgment on the basis of their bodies. that they cannot identify as a given gender on the basis of body parts. this can especially be felt by non-binary and gender expansive people. it can feel like society will always gender them as a boy or a girl and that they cannot escape being gendered. when pursuing gender affirming surgeries, they receive judgment or assumptions surrounding what their gender may be.

could it be okay that body parts are just body parts? could it be okay for people to have whichever body parts they desire and still be the gender that they identify with? could it be okay to not be a man or a woman, and simply be human?

boys are boys.

girls are girls.

two sentences that mean nothing yet impact everything.

 

pick one.

you have to pick one.

boy or girl?

which is it? 

 

if you look feminine, you’re bound to be a girl.

if you look masculine, a boy. 

will you be a he/him or a she/her?

sure you can choose who you want to be.

just pick one.

 

forget about non-binary.

forget about your they/them fantasies.

it's a fantasy.

a fantasy. 

 

you are bound to be gendered, so pick one.

 

you may choose what you want to do to your body, but you have no choice on how you are perceived. 

 

you may have cut off your boobs, but you are still a woman.

we all know what’s between your legs.

 

you got a dick?

now you’re a man.

you can’t get a dick and not be a man.

dicks are men.

men are dicks.

there is no in between.

 

bodies are gendered.

there’s no escaping it.

stop being difficult with your genderless bullshit.

your genderless bullshit.

pick your gender. less bullshit.

bullshit.

shit.

 

stop being difficult.

pick one.

materials: briefcase with boobs molded from plastic bags. frame painted with an x-ray of a pelvis with a "?" in the center.

model and voice: Parker Haines (@switchtheboi)

Enlisted

women have traditionally been expected to be mothers and homemakers. our society has labeled women as worthwhile on the basis of their fertility. as women have entered the workforce, this dynamic has not changed. society still expects women to be mothers, yet expects them to contribute to the workforce. more so, society expects women to live two separate lives that do not impact one another. the burden of balancing two lives in secret from one another is exhausting.

what if it was okay that work and homelife impacted one another? that women would be able to choose how they would like to live without judgment?

be a mother as if you did not work and work as if you were not a mother.

 

you have enlisted in a double life.

 

you must be a mother,

that is a given. 

your ovaries were meant for great things.

for procreative means. 

you were destined for motherhood.

 

career. 

you chose to have a career.

you chose that life. 

to be selfish. 

to work. 

to neglect your family. 

to neglect your children. 

that was your choice. 

there are no free passes for a choice like that. 

no exceptions. 

no accommodations.

 

don’t you dare let your personal life get in the way of your work. 

your kids don’t matter here. 

your motherhood does not matter here. 

this is a man’s world. 

it’s not our fault you are a woman. 

we hired you despite your flaws.

 

the clock strikes five.

 

be tender.

be kind.

fully engaged.

prepare.

cook.

entertain.

nurture.

 

your children need your all.

they need your best.

don’t fail them.

be the mother they need.

be everything they need.

 

be everything. 

there is no room for error.

materials: wire hanger, thrifted blazer, boob molded from plastic, ultrasound inserted into the side of a thrifted briefcase.

model and voice: Vivian Lee (@vivianleechicago)

Constricted

one of the greatest disservices society has committed towards men is telling them that feelings are weak. men are told that they must be protectors, providers and defenders. roles that require deep tenderness and kindness. yet, men are shamed if they show softness. men are told that they must be emotionless and carry out their duty and be tough as nails.

no wonder we see brutality in our police force. in the face of human suffering, they are told they must be tough and not feel.

what if it was okay to feel? what if feelings were not gendered? and what if feelings were actually a source of strength rather than weakness?

be a man.

men don’t cry. 

don’t

cry. 

don’t 

feel. 

serve. 

protect. 

provide. 

those are your duties. 

but definitely don’t feel. 

are you weak? 

a sissy? 

a wuss? 

a pussy? 

don’t be a fucking pussy.

suck it up. get over it. tough as nails.

you’re a man. 

you cannot afford to feel. 

work. 

earn. 

provide. 

fuck the rest. 

dive deeper into your work. 

dive deeper into the fire. 

risk more. 

fight more. 

joke more. 

let your neglected emotions callous your skin. 

don’t let anyone in. and certainly don’t let your emotions out. 

you are emotionless, remember? 

you don’t have emotions. 

you are a man.

materials: used firefighter overalls, anatomical heart made from molded plastic bags.

model: diAmante (@heisdiamante)

voice: Kirstie (@kirstie_anna)

Omitted

we have been told that the heart is deceitful. that feelings are the antithesis of facts. that feelings lead us astray. we have been told to ignore our feelings. that our feelings are too much. that no one wants to hear how we feel.

what if our feelings were important? what if our feelings helped us better understand ourselves and others? what if the way to "get over" our feelings was to go through them rather than ignore them?

you feel too much. 

you’re too much. 

you’re too much. 

too much. 

 

you’re making people uncomfortable. 

you’re making men uncomfortable. 

men don’t want a woman who is too much. 

men don’t want you. 

people don’t want you.

 

bottle it up.

control yourself.

keep yourself and your dangerous emotions hidden.

the world can’t handle you.

so handle yourself.

wrangle yourself.

be the poised,

proper,

meek girl you were raised to be.

 

blessed are the meek.

you are blessed when you are bottled.

opening up is dangerous.

opening up inspires opening up.

 

what if everyone opened up?

if everyone felt proud of themselves?

 

chaos. disorder. revolt.

revolting.

 

if people see your freedom they may also seek freedom.

and liberation is the enemy of the shadows you seek.

so bottle it up.

materials: all pieces constructed from used soda bottles.

model: Anicea (@iamanicea)

voices: diAmante (@heisdiamante) and Anicea (@iamanicea)

Admitted

this piece represents the pressures that folks who experience chronic pain and illness face to “get well.” as a society, we are obsessed with getting well soon. sure, folks can be sick, but they are expected to disappear from society for a short period and to resurface when they are better. 

 

what if someone isn’t getting better? are they supposed to simply disappear until they are well? what if a life well lived can also be a life that is sick? what would it look like if we held space for people to be in pain?

get well soon! 

i hope you get better soon!

get well soon! 

i hope you're well.

get well soon! 

i hope you get better soon!

better soon.

better soon.

 

GOD!

why do you have to be sick all of the time?

have you seen a new doctor?

or tried any new medications?

do you even want to get better?

 

you missed the party again. 

you canceled again.

you flaked again.

you said you were sick last time. aren’t you better now?

you can’t always be sick.

you can’t live like that.

 

i need to get better.

at least i need to look like i’m better.

i can’t live if i’m sick.

at least that’s what they tell me.

 

the pressure to get better is killing me.

is drowning me.

what if i can’t get better?

will i lose everyone i care about?

will i be left with a meaningless life?

 

i feel like i’m not allowed to be sick.

like me being sick is wrong.

what if i cant fix this? what if they can’t fix me?

 

get well soon!

i hope you're well!

 

and what if i’m not?

materials: top constructed from used IV bags. skirt constructed from used pill bottles.

model: Brandon Ramsey (@brandonjramsey)

voices: Omar Ocampo, Jordan Parker, Kimi Ellwein, Ray Martinez, Carlos Medina Jr., Scottie Eskelund, Kirstie Anna (@kirtstie_anna)

Afflicted

we love to believe that we are all individuals. that each of us is solely responsible for our own actions. we believe that if we are not actively racist, we do not participate in systemic racism. we believe that we are not responsible to interact with the choices of generations before us. that we are not responsible for the pollution that surrounds us.

 

what if the past impacts us? if the choices and prejudices of our ancestors must be addressed rather than ignored? we cannot move forward if we do not reconcile with our past. we must take responsibility to change how the past has impacted us.

i am not my brother’s keeper.

the actions of my ancestors are not my responsibility.

they do not impact me.

 

impact me? 

 

their abuse.

their traditions.

their messages.

their hurt.

their hate.

 

surely i am not impacted.

surely the past has no hold on me.

no impact.

 

their waste.

their pollution.

their choices.

their remnants.

surely it does not impact me.

does not weigh me down.

does not pollute the air i breathe.

 

it’s not my problem.

the past is not my problem.

the past is the past.

if i ignore it,

it will go away.

 

it will all go away.

 

i am not responsible for the abuse they caused.

the pain they caused.

the pollution they caused.

 

and i am certainly not responsible for doing something about it now.

i am my own person and no one has affected me.

 

i am not affected.

i am not afflicted.

i cannot be afflicted.

materials: dress constructed from a thrifted blanket. baggage constructed from two vintage suitcases and two porcelain dolls.

model: Christopher Sylvie (@christopher.sylvie)

voice: diAmante

Deteriorated

oftentimes when talking about global and political issues, we find ourselves saying “if only the old people would die. then everything would be better.”

we have narratives that say old dogs can’t learn new tricks. there are so many messages about aging becoming about preparing to die rather than continuing to live.

 

what if it is these narratives that trap people into being unchanging? what if the experiences of older generations were valuable? what if people can change no matter their age? have we given up on a generation that can still evolve, adapt, change and maybe even teach?

they say old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

that i can’t learn.

can’t change.

that there’s no hope for growth.

for transformation.

for new beginnings.

they say my time has passed.

that i should just die.

 

what am i worth if i die?

an inheritance?

an open space for someone else to fill?

is that my worth?

is that my purpose?

to step aside and die?

 

they say i am worthless

yet age has taught me my worth.

they say i am a liability

yet I have seen my strength carry me into the present.

they see my wrinkles and call me ugly.

but what if its my wrinkles that testify to my beauty.

they tell me to run from aging.

yet it is in aging that i have found new life.

 

and what is a new life when the world is calling for your death?

when the generations are begging for my funeral?

do i die like they want me to?

or do I choose to live.

materials: skirt and top constructed from thrifted curtains. 

model and voice: Mary Beth Schaye (@chezshaye)

Acknowledgements

this runway is an interpretation of our shadows and does not represent the full spectrum of how people interpret our shadows. these pieces do not seek to encapsulate the entirety of the human experience, but rather capture specific experiences that may be relatable to others.

thank you to my family, both chosen and by blood, for inspiring this collection and for helping me construct these pieces over the last six months. a special thanks to my mom, Hanne Larson, who helped me construct many of these pieces and spent countless hours on the phone to discover how to make these pieces sparkle.

thank you to Tom Amenta for allowing me to use his space for recording the spoken words that you heard tonight. thank you to all of my models and voice actors for bringing this artistic vision to life.

thank you to the Triveni Institute (@triveniinstitutefoundation) for sharing this vision with me and letting me let my creative juices flow. it is an honor to advocate for environmental and mental health awareness through fashion and art. thank you for making this dream a reality.

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