"The Young-Girl is only good for consuming, pleasure or work, it doesn't matter. The intimacy of the Young-Girl, now equivalent to all intimacy, has become something anonymous and exterior, an object."
- Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl
Memories of Fear is a 12-minute video introduced, interrupted, and concluded by excerpts from the artist's "teenage diary" kept from 2005-2009. It uses tropes of adolescence to access exaggerated forms of naiveté, self-contempt, and finally reification. It is a critical re-enactment of the memorialization of youth, particularly in relation to the feminine. Memories of Fear explores this locus of consumption, an experiment in specifying an objectified intimacy.
It includes excerpts from an instructional video the artist acted in during 2004, and photos taken during a family vacation through Oregon in 2001. All quotations are from Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl by Tiqqun.
Memories of Fear
"The tautological nature of the Young-Girl's beauty is rooted in the fact that she sees no alterity, but only the ideal representation of herself. This is why she extends first to herself the regime ruling the production of things."
- Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, Tiqqun
An excerpt from my Teenage Diary, 4/29/07
Sometimes I become afraid that my personality as I pour out is not beautiful. I feel that I can, do, and love to create beautiful things, but just that I am not beautiful. I want to be more aware of myself. I need to be more aware of everything.
In my perfect world everything is lazy but me
Flowers don't get out of bed to bloom
while I have already opened
and am in the process of wilting
Animals at the zoo get the area around their assholes shaved
They are the laziest
They don't even shave their own assholes
I shave my asshole for you
I am better than them
I like to do things that you like
Take me for a walk
through a sunset of my perfection
Take me for a walk
through marshlands of myself
when I am middle aged and depressed
Where have all the self harmers gone
Do the recovered honor their scars, or think of them as
unsightly adolescent tokens
Clinically Depressed Mall Rat
Is there worth in honoring scars, I say this because I see that if you don't put some explicit violence in your art, it isn't relevant to men
This is not a criticism
I want to learn from Marketable Violence.
I am told that there is violence in everything I do. I find making a spectacle of this violence can be funny
me and my violence can be humor into this world. My violence is humor, my humor is violence –
and there is justice in my life. I made the justice for myself.
One example is this girl in my school who carved NO into her upper thighs –
we all Made Fun of Her. I don't feel guilty.
I cannot honor my scars my memories of fear
because I am still afraid. But they are glorified –
through their market value, and through their infrequent stillness.
An excerpt from my Teenage Diary 4/24/07
I hate when I like an artist or song and then I'm not as interested in it because I think of how someone like William or Stephen would think about it. Why do I measure the idea of "cool" by other people's standards? Doesn't that concept actually contradict the essence of what cool is? Your own person? Because a person is always influenced by their surroundings, by different people, meaning that they just collect aspects of everyone and everything and add them together to create themselves.
But is what they take really significant? Do they take what is real in themselves or just the superficial like opinions, physical clothes, hairstyles, ideas that may change. Not the parts of a person that don't have names but you can just see somehow, and come to life when you really get to know the person.
I hope that you are well enough entertained and that you find a profound ability to identify with an appropriate ratio of my statements. I never understood how people found the phrase "You are not Alone" to be encouraging. I've always found it rather humiliating, since it undermines one of the major motivations I have to act out my feelings and the like: that is, to be alone enough in feeling to justify expressing them. I must be the only person in my radius with that particular brand of suffering. But I have noticed that it is alright for objects to suffer. And for that reason I take the responsibility to say "You are not Alone," and I expect you to like it.
I've never felt like a woman until I started perpetually worrying that I wasn't enough of one. "The Young-Girl is a thing to the very extent that she takes herself to be human: she is a human to the very extent that she takes herself to be a thing" (Tiqqun). Something about shaving my legs makes me feel like I have won against the false signs of liberation that feminism has awarded me. I worry that in the process of defining personal authenticity, as a woman or otherwise, comes the commodification of authenticity itself. This is something we have heard a million times, and because of this some try to find honesty by presenting themselves as inauthentic. A kind of authentic-inauthenticity. In doing this, you run the risk of acting cowardly in the face of your nagging desire to trust. I will perhaps never succeed in trusting myself as authentic, much less others. But maybe success is nothing to be sought after with earnesty.
"When the Young-Girl has exhausted all artifice, there is one final artifice left for her: the renunciation of artifice. But this one really is the final one."
An excerpt from my Teenage Diary, 1/5/08
I feel exquisitely tender and vulnerable. I feel human. I feel life.
Memories of Fear was exhibited at My Scion Gallery in Portland, Oregon from November 22nd to December 12th, 2015.
Adrienne Herr (b. Texas, 1991) is a poet living in Berlin, Germany. She self-publishes most of her poetry online, along with photos of objects she makes as an extension of her poetic practice.