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Situated on the floor within three white walls sits a figure composed of cardboard boxes. The figure is in the fetal position. The boxes have various branding and logos on them, reflecting items the artist consumed while working on this project. On the central wall behind the figure, at standing eye level, are a series eight receipts hanging. Each receipt has an anecdote and reflection about one of the boxes used within the figure.

Waste Avatar: Boxed In

Shalin Berman

Cardboard Boxes, Adhesive, Paper, 2022

Waste Avatar: Boxed In is a sculpture composed of recycled materials that serves as a physical manifestation of what I consumed and what has consumed me during the 2021-2022 school year. The figure is accompanied by textual anecdotes about the boxes and their contents to explore what this figure says about me, and society more broadly. The combination of sculptural and textual elements forced into the same context highlights the tensions I felt during this time of anger, dread, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Body position and other perceptible cues create connotations about identity for the figure and viewer. Everyone is made of boxes, but they can feel restrictive or even demoralizing at times, especially when they are forced upon you, or if you feel unable to grow out of them over time. I have felt forced into metaphorical boxes based on my [perceived] identities. Will I consume in the same way in the future as I continue to grow, change, and attempt to embrace the fluidity of my salient identities while acknowledging how they’re affected by what items and media I consume? I feel stagnant right now, but I’m interested in how I can break through these boxes over time.