Questions of Enough

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by jmbroekman No Comments
Enough in process
Enough partially open
Enough - back view

What is Enough?

I have been working on some new work around issues of ENOUGH. When is enough, enough? What is enough? Will we ever understand there is more than enough? How do you define enough? These questions came up as I considered the path of migrants throughout history. It’s something I’ve been thinking about recently in light of an upcoming show. More on that in a minute.

In my mind many, if not most, of the ills we face as a species boil down to a question of enough. Today’s rise of the far right nationalist parties seems to grow out of the fear of not having enough; that what little you might have will be taken away by those who have even less. Migrants are almost always driven by not having enough – safety, food, clean water, shelter, economic opportunities etc. I can’t help but think that issues around enough are at the root of just about every problem we face in this increasingly polarized world.

When is enough, enough?

I have been thinking about this while creating a few artists’ books about it; specifically for IXNOS, an exhibition in response to the passage of migrants through the Greek Island of Lesvos. This exhibition is part of a statewide initiative: Making Migration Visible, which includes a major exhibition at the ICA at MECA exploring ideas about migration, mobility and displacement. It’s a topic that hits me at my core; and one I think I’ve been exploring in indirect ways for a long time.

These patterns of having or not having enough get passed down through the generations. For example, having survived the Holocaust, my mother understood what not having enough to eat felt like, and was thus, always afraid that we wouldn’t have enough food in the house. When, in high school, I started to do the grocery shopping, I would always shake my head as she put a can of tuna on the list when I could see we clearly still had two cans on the shelf. Now I get it. On a visceral level. In fact, I, too, am afraid of running out of food, and often have more than one can of tomatoes in the cupboard.

Good enough?

There is another manifestation of what enough means: when you add good as a prefix. Good enough. What’s good enough? Is good enough, enough? It’s an endless battle in my mind when it comes to my work. Not to mention my overall being. Making this book about enough was a great experience. It allowed me to put these thoughts out into the world in a compelling way; It was a way for me to continue grappling with them. And, the best part: I learned some great new tricks for making a flag book, which was a lot of plain old fun.

Ixnos:Traces

The exhibition runs from October 6 through the end of the year at the Glickman Library on the University of Southern Maine campus.

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Curiosity

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