‘Mermaids Past Their Prime’ is one of Tim Tate’s most recent video reliquary sculptures.
Mermaids Past Their Prime
blown and cast glass, found objects, electronics, video
21 x 7 x 7
picture: Pete Duvall
Part of an 8 piece series titled “21st Century Sideshows”, the reliquary boasts a glass mermaid finial, a cast glass circus tent, the requisite crowd peeking inside the curtain to see the show, a relaxed mermaid leaning on oyster shells and a video of a mermaid past her prime smoking a cigarette and looking bored with life.
The 21st Century Sideshows series in progress
Mermaids Past Their Prime, detail (yes, that’s daMuse!)
I’m the aging mermaid in the video loop that plays continuously as viewers peer through the curtains of the circus tent. Tim’s editing genius turned my face blue, my lips green and my eyeshadow pink. Perfect for a mermaid, don’t you think?
The video above is daMuse before Tim’s color shift.
Come by WGS to see the full effect of the final cut!
why did i do it?
Aside from the obvious reason – documenting the life of working artists today – another reason I started the apprenticeship project was that I knew it would force me to do things outside of my comfort zone (CZ). I would have to let myself be be bad at something; let myself be an uninformed beginner in front of everyone (a particularly hard one for me); let go of my perfectionist ways; live without knowing what’s next. And that’s the short, publishable list – the full list is much longer!
When Tim asked me to be the aging mermaid I knew I would have to quickly learn how to NOT take myself so seriously. My first inclination was to say no – but I chose to challenge myself instead. And this challenge, one of many here at my DC internship, meant I had to get over myself FAST.
Posting unflattering pictures of myself made up as the aging mermaid, walking into the glass studio in the garish makeup in front of four men, allowing myself to be filmed looking really awful (and smoking a cigarette – ick!), standing still and not getting embarrassed while Tim told a well-known gallerist, collectors, students and other WGS visitors that the aging mermaid in the video was me – all of that was me stepping outside of my CZ.
Everyone should step outside of their CZ at least once a week.
It grows you.
In addition – this reliquary is sure to strike a chord with women of a certain age. I am that woman of a certain age, and I believe that the best is yet to come, so I wanted to get in her skin for a moment to remind myself of who I DON’T want to be. She’s bored and jaded – seen it all, done it all.
Me? Soon to be 52, in many ways I’m just getting started. Shedding fears like fish scales, tearing off old beliefs like tight shoes (and wondering how I ever walked in those too-tight shoes), letting the possibilities wash over me like a long-awaited cleansing rain. I am the opposite of a mermaid past her prime regardless of my chronological age. I don’t intend to EVER be past my prime, even when I am well into my 80’s. Bored? Nope. Jaded? Never. There is still so much life to live!
Thanks Tim, for giving me one of the many opportunities here in DC to jump outside of my CZ. I had a blast and this series of sculptures is simply GRAND. Check out the whole series below.
Tim Tate’s 21st Century Sideshows