See For Yourself: Collaboration with Carmen Papalia


In early 2015 Carmen Papalia asked John Muse to contribute a text to his project See For Yourself, a new work commissioned by Arts & Disability Ireland for Marking Blind, an exhibition curated by Amanda Cachia.  Muse was prompted to verbally "show" Carmen Théodore Géricaultt’s 1819 painting The Raft of the Medusa, describing the painting "subjectively, in [your] own voice."  The verbal description would then be handed over to an artist, in this case Rozzell Medina, who would then create a new work based on the description.  From Papalia's account of See for Yourself:

For Marking Blind I commissioned 7 participants to write visual descriptions of a significant artwork of their choice and 7 participants to make visual translations based on those descriptions. Contributors are a sample of my close friends, mentors, family members, those who I have mentored and those who I am in community with, and represent my vast network of care and support. Each artist that produced a visual translation was only given a written description to work from—the artist and title of the artwork describe was kept secret so as not to influence the translating artist’s approach. Each visual description serves as an alternate title for the artwork that it describes, and each visual translation stands alone as the titled work itself.

Muse's alternate title for Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa:

The raft of the title is below and in front of us, nearly at our feet—if our feet could climb the wall and up and over the edge of the heavy gilt frame. The raft, the frame, the painting, 16 ft tall, 23 ft wide, broad plinths for heaps. A heap of glowing flesh; so many starving, well-muscled men, African men and Europeans, adrift for 13 days off the coast of Senegal, said to have been abandoned, to have eaten their dead, to be the last 15 out of 149 souls. A heap of cloth; to the left, a taut sail on a tent wrapped mast; above and right, a swirling red and white rag in the hands of a dark skinned sailor, he at the summit, facing away, waving; a wet tunic fused to a corpse and to the very edge of our frame, he at the base, headless; a heap of rags, bandages, headscarves, and stockings. A heap of hands, of fists and slack palms, of grappling hands and supporting ones, holding the heap together, the living and the dead, a pose. A heap of ocean, a heap of clouds, of wind and waves, of rope and foam, holding the heap together, a torment. But then a postage stamp sail at the horizon: a ship, the Argus, a hope and the name of another ancient monster.

Medina's ... Raft... is available to the right and here.