Raleigh, N.C. — I visited CAM Raleigh to see Sarah Anne Johnson's Wonderland exhibition. One of her pieces, House on Fire, chronicles the disturbing experiences of her ill grandmother, who became an unknowing test subject in a CIA-sponsored psychiatrist's mind-control experiment.
Johnson cleverly uses a dollhouse to convey the twisted environment, with each room showcasing peculiarities of the psychiatrist's experiment. Her use of the dollhouse challenges what we normally expect to see and the associations we draw. Our warm and fuzzy childhood memories all give way to a feeling of dread as your eyes move voyeuristically room to room, bearing witness to the horror and perversity within. Miniaturized stacks of paper crowding a room and a single, lonely pencil on a table never seemed so ominous.
My brother jokingly commented that this must be what my office looks like.