[image: Riyad Mall] Carmen :: in between project initiations

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Riyad Mall

Carmen :: in between project initiations and swimming in ideas about everything all the time.

A dear friend of mine, glass artist Anjali Srinivasan , is living in Riyadh at the moment. We were talking (emailing actually) about how Lacan theorized that an infant is not aware fully aware of itself until it sees its own reflection. Seeing its own self in a mirror, in a pool of water, in another’s eyes gives it a sense of self and thereafter its ego.

She told me that she has noticed that people on the street seem to have a general disinterest in the site of each other, that the feeling of an external gaze is somehow missing. Is it that the Abaya is an erasing device, erasing the site of the self. And if the site of the self is erased then is the sense of self also erased or in a way eroded?

It is astounding to think that this practice of easing the site of the woman is less than one generation old.

There are women in Riyad who remember not having to wear a black full body cover in 113 degree heat. It’s suffocating to imagine.

Do these women feel a faded sense of self or has it merely been driven somewhere deep and secret where it grows ?

What I wouldn’t give to go there and look- a lot and intensely at everything and everyone.