My installation project, titled "Conformity is Infinite," seeks to delve into the complex and often fraught relationship between conformity and individual agency. At its core, my project is driven by a central question: to what extent do societal pressures and cultural values influence our behavior and choices, and how do we resist or challenge these norms? Every day, we are confronted with a range of expectations and social norms that shape our behavior, from values like kindness and empathy to more concrete concepts such as the protection of private property and respect for human dignity. While these values serve as a powerful form of social glue, they can also be exploited and twisted to justify atrocities. For example, the Holocaust and the rise of Communism were both in part a reflection of the destructive power of conformity, as individuals succumbed to pressure to conform to a particular ideology or belief system.
Conformity is infinite Part 1:
The first part of my thesis installation project, titled "A pair of white shoes can't solve your problem," features a video that centers around a middle school girl who is punished and forced to write an apology letter for wearing pink shoes to school. At the start of a semester, the class coordinator implemented a new rule that only allowed students to wear black, white, and grey shoes. It was meant to prevent students from comparing shoes and to encourage them to focus on studying. However, the girl found the rule ridiculous and decided to wear neon pink shoes to school as a form of resistance. This act of non-conformity results in her being punishing and having to write a 1000-word apology explaining why it was wrong to wear pink shoes at school. A video projection of the girl reading her apology letter is displayed inside a children's desk, but one raised up to an adult's eye level, symbolizing the transformation from childhood innocence to adult awareness of societal pressures to conform. In this work, I aim to highlight the often arbitrary and oppressive nature of conformity, particularly in educational settings where conformity to rules and expectations is often prioritized over individual expression and creativity.