This project is part of Container's Multitudes series, which invites writers and artists to transform the same object into works of visual and literary art. In this series, participants were invited to interpret a vintage metal lunchbox. Proceeds from the sale of these items are split equally between Container and the artist.
The project was a great excuse to watch tv and call it "work." I watched various episodes of the original Mickey Mouse Club, The New Mickey Mouse Club, which is the one that this lunchbox stems from, MMC (the nineties iteration), and several documentaries about the show itself. Through the process of watching, I became interested in the community aspect of the show and it turned my attention to one of the most important aspects of community: listening.
Since ears are such an iconic symbol of the Mickey Mouse franchise, I rolled with that mode to explore the lines as sound speech. From there, I studied hearing tests, which use audiograms to record the patient's data. I then arranged the lines I collected from viewing the material to follow an audiogrammatic structure. As you read the text, the lines themselves start becoming the tones used to supply data to the audiogram, so the system fails itself.
Since the show is so tied to performance, I found it important to make these materials performative themselves. I needle-felted white and blue wool together to create balls that performers can stuff their ears with along with instructions on how to perform the piece. In essence, the lunchbox and thermos become a toolkit to form your own Mickey Mouse Club or strange hearing test, which to me, became the same thing. The tradition of commodifying our bodies for entertainment is a long one and this piece serves to show the mere absurdity of that.
Sketch paper, copy paper, thread, beeswax, acrylic paint, marbled paper, cotton paper and wool.
Natasha Mijares is an artist, writer, curator, and educator. She received her MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited at MECA International Art Fair in Puerto Rico, Sullivan Galleries, TCC Chicago, and Locust Projects. She has been published in Calamity, Vinyl Poetry, Bear Review, and has work forthcoming from Hypertext Magazine.