In a continued practice of critical, visual self-reflection, I created this painting to find my position, as an artist, digital storytelling facilitator, and social science researcher, in my dissertation about diverse perspectives on digital stories created by youth who have aged-out of foster care in Canada. The painting is about honouring the youth participants who shared difficult, powerful, and resilient stories; learning from the adults who facilitated and responded to the stories; and finding my place as a researcher-as-listener.
Their Stories. The Body Electric, Sept. 26-28, 2019, Ottawa, ON. https://thebodyelectric-lecorpselectrique.ca/
Accumulation/De-Accumulation. “Until the Last Breath”, Artscape Youngplace, January 17–February 2, 2019. http://taboohealthexhibitions.com/, https://designto.org/event/until-the-last-breath/. “Cross-Sections” at Ryerson University, Toronto, ON. 2017, “The Body Electric” digital art exhibition, in Niagara Falls, ON (2016).
The interplay of time, and images are two elements of everyday life and inform our everyday interactions. In art, and in medicine, these elements—among others—play a major role in how information is received and expressed. In this generative artwork created with Processing (processing.org), the present time is recorded at random locations in milliseconds, seconds, minutes, and hours. On another layer, the data recording—time—is erased by random ellipses, representing the idea of how beta-amyloid, and abnormal tau proteins invade healthy tissues of the brain in Alzheimer’s dementia (Alzheimer’s Association, 2016).
The artwork is created with written code that runs in the background and is unseen. To reference this, the ellipse shape was chosen as a play on the meaning of the word, ellipsis in writing, “…” which is punctuation that is used in place of irrelevant information from a quote. The ellipses in this artwork are oval-shaped 2D images that randomly, and partially cover up the recording of the present time on the screen.
Each layer is stamped and erased over and over again, until the application is closed, or the system is shut down. This piece explores the notion that time and memories are relational and are experienced until the very end of life despite the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia, what Dr. Pia Kontos describes with her theory of ‘embodied selfhood’ (Kontos, 2012).
Alzheimer’s Association. (2016). ‘2016 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures’. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, (12)4, 459-509. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2016.03.001
Kontos, P. (2012). Alzheimer expressions or expressions despite Alzheimer’s?: Philosophical reflections on selfhood and embodiment. Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, 4, 1-12. http://arcade.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/article_pdfs/OCCASION_v04_Kontos_053112_0.pdf
Thanks to Dr. Pia Kontos (the University of Toronto, and the University Health Network (UHN)) for reviewing this statement.