The initiation processes we experience throughout life are normally etched in our memory as milestones: sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful.
Like pieces in a puzzle, Meyer highlights specific initiation processes and rituals in the lives of young boys and men which find expression later on in life: life on the playground, military service or simple acceptance within a new circle of friends. It is a process that is both welcoming and unsettling in its departure from comfort zones.
In contrast to the notion of transitional processes as a necessary part of life, Meyer’s body of work highlights the tension between youthful innocence – individuality even – and the brutal transition towards a uniform group identity. One cannot help but lament the loss of innocence that is suffered during each ritual; like youthful feet being forced into rigid wooden clogs to impose uniformity.
Meyer’s work is however not entirely a tale of social suppression. He sits comfortably with the fact that individuals form part of groups, and that transitional phases such as “religious christening and catechism, the shaping of a toddler to become a scholar, the initiation of a child into adulthood, first sexual encounters, marriage, even student initiations all signify processes towards membership of a new subculture, gang, group or organization”.
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