Becoming Real

A book, a series of drawings and a sculpture present the 'coming-into-being' of a Eurasian Magpie (Pica Pica), a parable examining the relationships between self-awareness and the role one plays in society.

The Magpie (or Skata) was chosen because I was attracted to the performance of this mischievous bird, which I saw everywhere in Gothenburg, Sweden (where I was living). I learned later that Magpies are one of the only birds that have been shown to recognize themselves in mirrors. My text imagines what a magpie might be thinking when it sees its reflection for the first time. I wondered could this recognition of selfhood lead the Magpie to an understanding of its role in society? The text paraphrases from and is influenced by a number of thinkers who examine self-awareness, performativity, and social engagement.

The book also features a text comparing Lacan's mirror-stage with Freud's Fort / Da Game by Samo Tomsic, a Slovenian philosopher who is currently a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

This work has been exhibited as a solo show at Etc. Gallery, Prague, 2010 and in the Exhibition Verei VIral, Rio de Janiero.

Read the original text from the Becoming Real book here and a second text reflecting back on the first five years later here.

Title: Becoming Real: A Magpie’s Reflection of Self
Media: Book, six framed drawings with pencil on paper, a taxedermied magpie and a mirror
Dimension/duration: 25 pages, variable
Year: 2010


Anthony Marcellini - Becoming Real - anthony_7
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