Through the loaded history and nature of silicone in relation to the metaphor of a wheelchair, Carmit creates a complex situation full of connotation. The act is subtle yet precise, the implications immense. Silicone has always represented flesh, but without internal construction, it falls limply to the floor. To me this is a metaphor for our own vulnerability, a reminder of the fragility of our lives. Carmit’s fixation on the wheelchair, a critical support system that, upon its adoption, can no longer be separated from its user, yet portraying it hollow and spineless, creates in me an anxiety that my own crutches may be taken away from under me. On one hand, her work speaks of hope, that the stability and permanence we lack naturally may be compensated through the development of our minds and technology. It blurs the line between nature and artificiality as a means of empowerment. It plays with the deceptiveness between the weak and the strong, both through the subject matter as well as the material itself. For silicone, while it may be flexible and soft to the touch, while it may fall helpless to the floor, it is strong, and it is not for nothing that such a perfect material should be utilized for the making of prosthetic limbs. Yet despite the sturdiness of our inventions, Carmit’s work creates a sense of danger, a reminder why these mechanisms were created in the first place. It speaks of a desperation for survival, a struggle to overcome death. To be in control. To me this work is a reminder of where we would be without our wheelchair. That we would be limp, worms, burdens distorted by gravity. What would happen if the chair I sit upon turned flaccid, I would splatter upon the ground, helpless. On the other hand, we have the worm, a lifeform without vertebrae. It could be cut in half and continue to exist, unhindered by the rigidness of such complex internal constructions as we have. Yet when our bodies becomes amputated or fragmented, only the ghost of it remains, phantom limbs that when taken are gone forever. In her work, we are represented as fragmented organisms where any part of the body can be replaced, for we are a culture that does not believe in weakness. We do not know how to look at an unfit stranger on the street with ease; we ask ourselves what if I lost my legs? What if I lost the ability to take care of myself and became a burden upon my loved ones, would I continue? Would I kill myself? This work to me is a reminder of the discomfort of such questions, ones that we try to look away from as much as possible, because we do not have the answer. This work to me forces me to look and acknowledge mortality, though we try to forget it. The fragmented nature forces me to acknowledge that at the end of the day, I am meat, that my entire universe can be broken up neatly into elements, and those elements each and of its own are feeble. That no matter how many prosthetics we may use to replace our legs, our hearts, our efforts will inevitably fail and fall hollow to the floor. Text by Karin Dolin

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