Monday, October 15, 2012


Unplugged.  Stitched words:  I haven't owned a TV for 12 years.  Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin.  Hand embroidery.  25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25", framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

I got a Facebook page in 2009.  This was something I resisted until too many people said, "You'll find Decision Portrait models on Facebook".  I intended to only "go on Facebook" to promote this series.... but.... I admit it...I like Facebook.  It's been fun.  It has also actually worked to find models and share the series.

Well, my parent visited about month before I stitched this piece.  My Dad was curious about Facebook.  How did it work?  How can you find people?  So I showed him.  He suggested that I look for my cousin in California.  This was an excellent suggestion.  I can only remember having met her twice in my entire life.  It took almost no time at all.  She had opened Facebook page only days beforehand.  Dad and I sent a "friend" request and a message.  The next morning Dad was thrilled to see all her photos...including some of his brother, my uncle, who also lives with her.  I noticed something quite unique.  One of the items listed on her "info" page said that she hadn't owned a television set for 12 years.  Now.... that’s a decision!  I don't know anyone who doesn't own at least one TV.  My next Facebook message was a request to participate in this series!  This portrait resulted.

So.... now I have Facebook to thank for another important, thought-provoking portrait and for putting me in touch with my cousin Monika.  As for the decision, Monika was surprised that I didn't know anyone else who had finally "unplugged" himself or herself from the "boob tube".  In her real estate office there are approximately three families without television.  They have more time for other forms of amusement, for family, and for other technologies.... like Facebook! 

I could probably live quite easily without television.  I don't actually watch it if Steve is out of town.  I never turn it on; Steve does.  I don't know how to change the stations.... which one of the two remote controls operates this function and which changes the volume?  Yet, I do watch when it is on.  I'm generally watching while stitching.... but I'm still watching. 

This is most assuredly a great portrait in this series.  It really asks viewers, "Could I live without TV?"  I'm not sure most people could!

I shared this portrait with Monika before posting it here.  Her email response included this insightful paragraph:

I find TV disturbing.  The noise, the fast moving pictures, the crazy commercials that are attempting to form the desires and expectations of viewers, the miss and disinformation by the news media and the bizarre programs that create a surreal picture of our culture are most of the reasons I don't watch it.  For a while I even carried a small electronic device that could remotely turn off a TV set within 25 feet of me!  I used it when I went to a department store to turn off the TV sets in the electronics department so I could browse the music section without that horrible noise around me.  It was fun to see that nobody noticed when the sets were turned off!  TV has become like the air.  We breathe it but never think about it.  But that TV air is full of pollution and we need to breath less of it for our mental as well as our cultural health.

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