This work was part of the exhibition The [Spaces] in Between with Asylum Art Gallery, at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from October 2020 to January 2021. Take a look at other artists and about the exhibition here. The work was also featured in a publication ‘Heterotopias- Discursive Spaces’.
Heterotopias are worlds within worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. In many pieces of work relating to Heterotopias, such as the work of artists Paul Adkins, show somewhat small or microscopic worlds within other worlds. Philosopher Michel Foucault, wrestled with the idea of the real and imaginary in spatial terms, came up with the concept of heterotopia to describe a place that is real and unreal at the same time, as opposed to the Utopia which is imaginary only and does not exist.
These words within worlds mirror the worlds inside us, the worlds that work to keep us alive, the worlds within our bodies. These worlds within our world that are often not revealed to us even though they are so very close. Our organs and insides create small heterotopias, we do not see until they are revealed to us through medical processes and imagery. Sometimes these heterotopias within us, can become somewhat ‘upset’ and often mirror something that is happening to us on the outside, through stresses from everyday life or circumstances. In contrast an illness from within very much upsets what is outside through mental well being and physical symptoms. These mini worlds are connected to us in so many ways and yet they are only often revealed to us through illness and the medical imagery that comes as a result.
Modern medical imaging techniques – including X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI – show structures inside your body, these heterotopias, in great detail and diagnose such hidden illnesses. Exploring the ways in which these medical images can be transformed to provoke conversations and spread understanding of the hidden illness is the basis of my work. These depictions of heterotopias inside us reveal a hidden world inside our bodies that often mirror the stresses we experience on the outside world and we often feel the stress of the those inside through symptoms of many varieties.
The heterotopias inside our bodies are hidden and only revealed, through medical imagery often, to diagnose hidden illness, something that can cause symptoms that from the outside are well hidden. These symptoms are often seen as embarrassing for the sufferer causing them to hide the knowledge of their illness as well as subsequently a range of mental health issues.
Through the depiction of medical scans and the hidden heterotopias inside from the sufferer of hidden diseases, I explore the mental vulnerability in people who suffer from hidden illnesses. The work helps to explore through looking at scientific images how a representation of the disease and the hidden world inside, would help people see their symptoms differently and help them in speaking about her symptoms and the discriminations they may face.