Alison Brockel BFA Thesis Spring 2011
Carnival of the Swan: Physical Transformation, Identity, and Artifice
The air is humid and heavy with the smell of sticky sweet cotton candy and the night is lit up with the vibrant lights of the carnival. I aimlessly wander from booth to booth looking at oddities and novelties and I am briefly tempted by the house of mirrors, when I notice the looming structure of the Ferris wheel. Its passengers are smiling and carefree, enjoying the soothing rhythm as they gracefully ascend and then descend. I make this my destination. As I am waiting in line I notice how the structure is built by a series of interlocking steel bars that are held together by rusted bolts. The hulking frame of this structure is held in place by concrete blocks that firmly anchor it to the earth. A woman in front of me is holding a baby that is softly crying out, and the little girl beside her is holding what remains of her cotton candy. She is gleefully liking the sugar from her fingers and bouncing her head. They climb into a carousel and are hosted up into the sky. The feathery wisps of the cotton candy are glowing pink in the carnival light. Now it is my turn. My heart flutters as the giant wheel carries me up into the night, rotating gently, but every time I leave the earth the pace of my heart quickens and then softens as I come back down. The more I experience this, the more this sensation becomes familiar. I am suspended from the earth and from what I know. The Ferris wheel is a state of transformation where the senses are both confused and heightened, and in this experience I lose a sense of myself.