These two boxes - not actually made yet, these are just digital mockups - are about 420mm x 31mm x 120mm. Thats not counting the 'head' and 'legs'. Hopefully the first thing you are getting from them is some Ostranenie. It would be good too if you were getting generalised pictures of alters, closets/wardrobes and even coffins.
Box 1 on the left is about the self existing in the physical and material world. This world has strict limits for defining life and it's prescriptions fall into quite narrow boundaries. It's almost like a recipe - enough calcium, sodium, amino acids all in the right proportions and you can have perfection. If your physical self falls into those narrow boundaries then lucky you, you get to have a life. For a while anyway. Because here's the bad news about the first box: material things don't last, they are temporary and they decay, inevitably, crumbling around you as though you are all artifice. If you are wholly wedded to this physical world (just like our culture with it's emphasis on youth, beauty and physical prowess) then does the crumbling artifice cancel you out of existence? If not, what is left?
Box 2 attempts to make some sense of what is left when the physical and material world are unavailable to you or are insufferable. It attempts, from my own experience with disabling illness, to visualise an alternate world not reliant on the body or even the mind.
Two key inspirations have helped inform this vision. The existential/absurdist vision and the metaphysical vision. (Bit worried they are theoretically incompatible. Need more research here, but nonetheless this is my experience...). The metaphysical, takes inspiration from a poem by Franz Kafka (not co incidentally Kafka is considered an absurdist philosopher which may solve my incompatibility problem) which reflects the essence of life as something that is all around and within and does not need an able body or even a particularly erudite, functioning mind to experience. (Halellujah). With a certain transcendence the world can come to you 'reveal itself, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet'. Not only is it a beautiful vision but it reveals also the cosmic joke - that life was right there in front of you, all the time you spent looking for it, like a lost sock.
The existentialist/absurdist vision is one I hold dear as it became the only framework within which I could comfortably view my otherwise inexplicable circumstances (the constant why?). Not far from this framework sits my notion of a vintage circus with it's sideshow of freaks, excluded from the mainstream, watching 'life' from the sidelines. In my vintage circus they are not the joke. Instead with their unique position on the sidelines, they are audience, watching the rest of us play out our proscribed lives and they get the joke. That's the advantage of being on the sidelines, the head start on life's cosmic joke, and they are in on it from the start - the existential comedy*, the one that reveals itself to us all through pain and suffering sooner or later.
The upshot? Box One will let you down. It's definition of life is exclusive and self limiting and it's material nature means an inevitable decay with no back up plan.
Box Two is enduring. It allows for transcendence of the material world and it's in on the cosmic joke.
*The existential comedy - that there is no meaning. Suffering is senseless but happens anyway. This position allows a detatchment from life's insults and appreciation of the joke.