For our last brief before christmas, we were given a 2 week project to explore one of two texts; ‘The Silent Sea’s’, an environmental report, or ‘The Man Who Mist Took His Wife For a Hat’, A book of clinical tales describing the chase histories of neurologist Oliver Sacks’ patients. We were also encouraged to work in groups or pairs, either on a mentoring basis or as a collaboration.
I chose to collaborate with Shak for this project, as we felt that working as a collaboration was the best way to effectively tackle this brief; this also drew on the fact that we both have very different styles and could therefore use this collaboration to contrast and combine our work. we chose to study the ‘Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat’ text, and after reading through the book used in the ‘Disembodied Lady’ as our main focus.
In this chase study, Dr Sacks, talks about a case in which his patient, Christian, loses her sense of preconception (Proprioception is our “sixth sense” or the awareness of the position of one’s body). The concept of loosing your sense of your own body is so odd, as it is “so automatic, so familiar, we never give it a thought”. Christina is later diagnosed with “sensory neuritis, affecting the sensory roots of spinal and cranial nerves throughout the neuraxis”, and has to re-learn how to control and move her body by compensating for this loss of one sense for another; Christina is told that she must use her eyes to replace her preconception. She learns, by using her vision, to control her movement, speech and everything else that we d without so much a thinking, Christina now has to do with great concentration.
Skah and I chose focus our illustrations on the initial loss of her preconception and how after her recovery she would be separated from the world. We did this in two parts, I illustrated the story in away as to explain both the course of events and to also shed some light on how Christina must be feeling in the face of her loss. I used mostly colour and a focus on the sense of disembodiment in my work. Skah then used a mixture of colour and pattern to illustrate more the complex workings of Christina’s psyche, something which we both agreed would be confusing to even herself at this time.
We presented our work on a lampshade like construction; with my work on the outside representing the more obvious course of events and emotion, and Skah’s more complex emotional and mental journey n the inside. Our construction acted as a more literal explanation for both sides of our illustration, with each side corresponding with the other.