It has been acknowledged in social science that the narrative is one of the methods we use to construct and assign meaning to our social worlds (Hyden, 1997). Continue reading “Narratives of illness & disability”
Lennard Davis also mentioned Jo Spence as an example of an artist using the spectacular gaze to come to terms with bodily changes. Her work, especially The Picture of Health, is richly autobiographical and explores issues surrounding feminine beauty and age, as well as her experience of partial mastectomy. Continue reading “Jo Spence”
Another artist to use the narrative technique of photographic autopathography is Hannah Wilke. Whereas Spence’s work was concerned with reclaiming her body from the medical profession, Wilke’s photographs question conventional representations of female beauty in art and mass media. Continue reading “Hannah Wilke”
In a similar way, artist Joanne Matuschka uses her body to raise awareness about the issue of breast cancer, as well as the stark reality of medical intervention.
“I remember looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I have such a beautiful body, something bad is going to happen here‘” (quoted in Kirkpatrick, 1998). Continue reading “Matuschka”
“In a bizarre alternative universe kind of way I sort of resemble Superman. . . . [D]espite my skinny physique and frail sensitivities, I possess certain powers and abilities far beyond those of so-called normal human beings. I was born with a genetic illness that I was supposed to succumb to at two, then ten, then twenty, and so on. But I didn’t. And, in a never-ending battle not just to survive but to subdue my stubborn disease, I’ve learned to fight sickness with sickness.” (Bob Flanagan, quoted in Kilpatrick 1998) Continue reading “Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist”
This article is one of the most touching and brave explorations of disability I have read. Kudos to Siebers for having the courage to reveal himself in such an explicit way. Siebers suffered from the effects of polio as a child, resulting in a withered right leg. Continue reading “Tobin Siebers, My Withered Limb”