The Stunting Fear of Failure: An Exploration of Self and One’s Own Capability Through Dolls, Miniature, Animation & Play
The exciting memories, dramatic moments, personal struggles and hopeful fantasies we play out in our minds are brought to life by the characters we ascribe to our dolls. In my mind, I imagine how the characters I create move, interact, and what their personalities are; they are not static objects sitting on a shelf, to me they have lives, opinions, and even feelings. Granted, all of these qualities I have projected onto them, but through this I believe you can learn a wondrous amount about yourself. My aim initially was to animate these figures through the technique of stop-motion film, to give the viewer a sense of how I imagine these characters inhabiting their imaginary space; developing their intricate movements and body language, giving life in order for them to convey their story of self-discovery in a believable and relatable fashion.
The protagonist of this story, the character Sloth, first appeared in my Junior Independent Study project. Sloth, the piece, was meant to represent total apathy to life; one of the emotions that I fear plagues our modern society. I wanted to expand on this character and the state of it’s implied apathy, exploring the underlying story there, and ultimately providing a light at the end of the tunnel.
The inherent apathetic nature of the character, Sloth, shows us a part of ourselves we rarely acknowledge and yet battle continuously. Even while some are more deeply affected by this than others, I believe the feeling of utter helplessness and occasional disenchantment haunts us all. For some, this is a debilitating, unshakable trepidation, resulting in the easiest solution: total shutdown. Fear of failure is a common caretaker of such states of mind, with feelings of uselessness and inadequacy perpetuating the cycle of self-doubt. To overcome the cycle, one must prove to themselves that they are indeed capable.

Hannah Webb '16

Advisor: Walter Zurko

Characters in Conversation. Tea-stained muslin, wire, synthetic stuffing, polymer clay, cork board. 18” x 4” x 20”. 2016.

The Cycle of Sloth: Installation. 2016.

The Cycle of Sloth. Stop-motion animation, iPhoto, iMovie. 7’ x 5’; 1:00 minute. 2016.

Parent and Eggling. Tea-stained muslin, wire, synthetic stuffing, polymer clay, tape, cork board. 18” x 4” x 20” 2016.

Sloth’s Childhood Kitchen. Cardboard, wood, paper, tea-stained muslin, wire, synthetic stuffing, polymer clay, tape
25” x 25” x 22”. 2016.

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