How does the body speak about itself and its experience? Specifically, how does one communicate about an experience that is difficult to articulate or that one is afraid to reveal? How is memory stored in the body? How is experience stored in the body?
These are some of the questions I have been exploring with this body of work. This investigation includes pieces from the Visceral Testimony Devices and Corporeal Relics series; both series consider the ways in which the body communicates about its experience. I use prosthetic and medical devices as visual and conceptual vehicles for conveying information. When language fails to adequately express what the body experiences, the prosthetic becomes a means of understanding and enhancing that which we cannot see or understand. This reference to a clinical, medical perspective is intentional on several levels. First, the prosthetic device is used to locate the viewer’s body within each piece. Second, it relates the associations of anxiety, control and dislocation of the body that occur within an institutional setting. These references imply a sterile, almost pathological atmosphere surrounding the body’s location within each piece.
The work is formed with materials such as tile, fabric and austere polished metal to contrast with the sumptuous wax and silicone that mimic the softness of the body. Each object is constructed to give the piece the appearance of being “manufactured” or mass-produced. By combining references to clinical apparatus with materials that simulate the physical body, I am able to add layers of information. I create devices that appear to be medical equipment. I see these as conceptual tools for the body to access memory.
Corporeal Relics is a collection of pieces related to communication data received from the various devices. I have created storage containers to contain and present this evidence, to preserve each relic, and to facilitate further examination by isolating each source. Crafted to resemble reliquaries or draped surgical sites, these pieces focus on four specific sites: the throat (suprasternal notch) for voice and breath; the spine to reference internal structure and integrity of the body; and the navel as a historical link to the past origin point; and the hand which refers to the activity and the present time. Each container holds a remnant of the evidence of living. Each fragment of the body is only a remnant of a whole experience. These fragments reflect elusive nature of experience.