“I” by Amy Sara Carroll

AMY SARA CARROLL: “When I wrote/designed/carved ‘i,’ I was enrolled in a kind of ‘History of Performance Art’ immersion course, feasting on the likes of Robert Morris’ I-Box (1962), Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll (1975), and Hannah Wilke’s S.O.S.—Starification Object Series (1974). One witnesses the traces of these pieces in and on ‘i.’ To complicate matters, I could clean-sweep neither the nursery rhyme nor John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1972) from my fragmented interiority. Disavowing ‘lyric-I’ niceties, I imagined ‘i’ as a commentary on the limits of self-portraiture and as an ‘ex-/centric’ process note. One instantiation of my series, A Good Badgirl’s Alphabet, ‘i’ both presages my interest in the splitting atoms of language (the good/bad luck of the mirror’s fragments) and literalizes the backwardness of carving an alphabet—to create a linoleum-cut one must reverse the letters on the block. The letter i’s interior instructs, ‘Hold/a/mir-/ror/up/to/me/,’ even as the print’s subsequent layering parenthetically passes judgment, ‘(Mirror-mind,/the malady.),’ gillslitting ‘the spin-/stress’ as potentially a ‘footbind’ and/or rhetorically suspect ‘mistress of herself.’”

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from Rattle #29, Summer 2008
Tribute to Visual Poetry

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