Jenna Witzleben

MFA Thesis Blog

This blog contains experiments, project and reading reflections, unanswered questions, and more relating to my year-long thesis as part of my Master's design program. From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, I explored rewilding human beings and the environments we inhabit at multiple scales including investigation around individual fears of nature, regional food production systems, and global overpopulation. The final works of this thesis can be found in my portfolio.

Sun Block

I took this photo this other day before I went out for a walk. These were all of the things I felt I needed to put on my skin. Sun block, moisturizer, tinted moisturizer with SPF, chapstick with SPF.

While after further consideration, I realized that yes, sun protection is necessary for many reasons including cancer prevention. However, it still seemed strange to me that I automatically put these chemicals on my body without a second thought. I accepted society's constant messaging that "this is the way things are done." While useful in this case, this should not be held universally. Not all barriers we build between us and our environment are healthy - for the environment or for us.

More recently I dyed my hair platinum blonde (from dark blonde/light brown). While a fun experiment in itself, it has brought up many contradictions with what I'm trying to do in my thesis. While I am trying to break down the barriers between myself and nature, my new hair color has created all new ones.

I have to protect my colored hair from the sun, water, wind, etc. My hair dresser told me "Just like you put sunscreen on your skin, you need to protect your hair now too." These natural elements dry out the hair, turning it yellow. I visited my parents house in Upstate NY last weekend, and while my boyfriend got to freely enjoy the sun and the swimming pool, I spent a majority of the time tucking my hair under my hat, keeping it away from the warm rays and the cool water. 

Jenna Witzleben