Over the past three years, I have been co-creating art in collaboration with people living with illness in communities across Canada. I have been working with recent transplant patients, head and neck cancer patients, suicide survivors in the Arctic, and psychiatric patients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In this website, embedded in artworks, you will see the works we co-created as I spent time with these individuals and in their communities. You will also see my own illness experiences and how they weave and knot with the work, as well as insights created with patients. Illness is a vital meaning-making event in people's lives, and the stories we use to narrate our illness to others and ourselves matter deeply. I aim to tell stories about the experience of illness with the hope that this might increase our confidence and vocabulary to discuss, experience, and express these meaningful events.
Art has the capacity to distill incredibly complex systems into artifacts that viewers and participants can experience at the level of affect as well as intellect, which may lead towards lasting personal and social change. For me, this is the most important feature of any artistic practice, and one that makes it particularly suited for examining issues of trauma, modern medicine, and patient experiences of illness and recovery: it allows those who may not have already experienced illness or trauma to empathetically engage with the possibility of that experience. In creating works on these subjects, I aim to develop a new visual and affective language for expressing illness in modern culture, one that hopefully calls into question the everyday narratives through which we normally understand what it means to be ill. To do this, I employ large-scale photographic work, video, theatre, 3D imaging and printing, film, performance, sculpture, and installation art, with the intent of destabilizing viewers, creating a space for new narratives to form.