Anatomy of a Choice

Anatomy of a Choice, 2018 (installation with audio and found/made images and objects)

 

On the MA Art and Science course at Central Saint Martins, I’ve been investigating creative connections across fields, making artwork that links topics like astronomy and microbiology, particle physics and medicine, and embodiment and emotions. I’ve developed a practice across many media, including painting, printmaking, archive imagery, 2D work and 3D installation, creative writing and through collaborations, allowing the choice of media and approach to respond to each project’s needs. I use ‘making’ as an entry point to ‘understanding’. Anatomy of a Choice was my final degree show project.

 

Anatomy of a Choice builds on autobiographical work about the breast cancer gene mutation I carry and the medical journey I undertook to prevent cancer. Peepholes and lenses reveal images and objects installed in a large hexagonal 'body', including embroidered photographs (created as part of an ongoing project with photographer Maja Daniels); family tree photos; etchings made from a PET scan; HRT therapy patches; a bird's nest. The peepholes provide a glimpse into the patient’s inner world, a space that is easily overlooked as the body is medicalised. Two large screenprints of the BRCA1 gene we all carry hang on the wall – one showing a healthy copy and the other my specific mutation. An audio piece of birdsong fills the air, and a more intimate piece with short clips of my thoughts recorded the week before my breast surgery hangs nearby on the wall.

 

Anatomy of a Choice visualizes the emotional and mental transformation that is taking place alongside the transformation of the physical body. With this work, I hope to bring a viewer into an intimate experience – but to make their own meaning from – and to create an encounter through which we can build empathy for one another’s experiences.