The concept for this project is to encapsulate a simulation of symptoms linked to lymphoma; this will be my own personal story but relatable as the symptoms are universally recognisable with the disease database. The project will be called uncertainty, it will be a collection of metaphors which will use combined multimedia as it will embrace the senses, this will ultimately create an unlimited depth in which you gain a sense of empathy, I hope that in order to feel part of the experience and become intrigued by what it entails, I hope you will want to gain understanding and then that will engage a degree of your comprehension. I am trying to give greater awareness to this disease and provide a sense of enlightenment and hopefulness.
I would first like to experiment with liquid light or mould a photograph within an acrylic bath tub. My photography could also become part of a projection onto object such as a bath, the idea is to simulate the effects of water, with the use of flickering coloured lights. The effect will be enhanced by lighting the base of the bath tub to create the illusion of fire. This should represent a multitude of different meanings, the audience can interpret this individually but the message I wish to convey is very much the essence of my simulation of lymphoma. The fire like appearance would represent the burning/crawling sensation felt when itching. I almost used to wish I’d be able to bath in lava so that I couldn’t feel it anymore, as my skin would start to burn, but at least it relieved the symptom for a few minutes. If projection is the idea I choose, then I believe a photograph of myself in the bath whilst looking distressed, relentlessly scratching myself will illustrate the story in its most obvious graphic form. I would perhaps also like to display flickering candles to simulate a fire like experience and perhaps the fan I will use will be suggestive of speed and the rapid onset of the symptoms and hopefully represent the intensity of the symptom as it gets stronger with increased dominance, eventually becoming unmanageable.
I want to make a real life sized bed. The use of a bed will present ‘sleeping’ although insomnia is characteristic of the disease and is representative of permanent fatigue. This can be caused not only by sleep deprivation but is a general symptom of the disease. A bed also represents somewhere the worst itching took place. I would like to incorporate this concept by using felt as it has a rough texture but is also a texture which literally made my skin crawl during the disease process. I have found any form of wool irritated my skin at the time but if this texture doesn’t work, when printed upon, I will look at alternatives like cotton.
I want to photograph three images that represent the main feelings I felt: firstly an out of bodily experience, as I felt out of control of my body, the disease is dominating and determined, at the time the disease made me feel almost like a monster without any power, mainly from the continuous itching.
I want to comment and depict the coldness of emotion that I felt from others and I will suggest this through the colours used in my photographs. I would like small sections of my body to be visible to give a minimal ‘hardly there illusion ’, this will represent an almost inhuman nonchalance. I want to create a ghostly ambience, a feeling of structured facets, cross layering by the use of blankets in long exposures, the rotation of light through the blankets I will display hues of blues and reds, and this will represent a sense of danger and coldness induced by fear. I want the three photographs I create to simulate all the abundant feelings and place them stegically on the folded sheet, emulating the strict formal way in which they would be folded on a hospital bed.
I want to simulate links to hospital bed as a hospital bed represents somewhere you can spend a lot of time as the cancer progresses and you become increasingly disease ridden or ill.
If I was to print onto white cotton sheets, this would be most like a hospital bed; cotton will also lose less detail. I want to simulate the way that the hospital bed would be precisely made and also perhaps use a hospital blanket as it is both rough to touch but also make it look most realistic as a hospital bed.
The pillows shall have images of my grandmother (thus using the transfer print method on all the images printed on to the bedding) as I believed there was a link between the two blood cancers. This belief was dispelled when I was first diagnosed, as I later realised it wasn’t inherited through my family and in fact has not got any link, as this is a personal story I wanted to include this as I often get comments by my family members that I look most like my Nan, my Nan is also one of my biggest role models in life. This link shall also combine archived photographs.
I would like the work to look hyper realistic, as it will categorically simulate the experience in the way that I personally felt it. I will alter the perspective of some of the realistic objects so that they will be a focal point drawing attention and seen to be part of the many underlying metaphors. By having some life-size objects, I hope to create obstacles in the way in which they can represent part of the illness but almost create a maze and ultimately stopping you getting too close but if you chose you’re still able to achieve your objective, much like how the support mechanisms (family and friends) can feel at times when watching the disease sufferer. I want to deploy a heater near the bed to represent the night sweats I had when trying to sleep.
I’d like my work to be shown in an abandoned building with a certain melancholic feel; this would help portray the dark meaning behind my work as it should look distressing. I would like my work to be shown in a public space which is very open as this will highlight the lack of privacy I felt when having this diagnosis imposed upon me. I want the work to be the first thing you see as you walk in the door as this shall represent how the person with the diagnosis feels, how they can feel devoid of their identity and personality; essentially left to be just a shell of a human with an illness.
Ultimately I want this project to look minimal but in fact have a profound depth when appreciated to its fullest extent. I also wanted to offer a celebration of the triumphant ability to reprogram the human body as well as the mind in order to cope with this disease.