Date: Current and on-going
Materials: Screens, animated video, cords.
See below for information on the project, more images from the series, and proposed installation images for this series of work.
In my presentation at SECAC 2015, I spoke about my life, medical history, and introduced the inception of the Circuits project I describe below. It is finished and ready to exhibit. I am done being a patient-patient and I am on to living my life and being accountable for my own wellbeing. I believe I can make viewers realize that if you put in the work you can surmount any obstacle. People need to see this, especially in the climate of the current opioid epidemic.
I am a cyborg.
While I was in the hospital bed the night I had a second spinal cord stimulator (SCS) implanted, my wife was registering online for a charity 5k race. Even though this was my 5th back surgery, I couldn’t walk to the mailbox, it was only eight weeks away, and I had never participated in a 5k, I told her to sign me up as well. I successfully completed that race. Since then, as long as I have my doctor’s permission, I perform in at least one race a month. To this date, I have performed in 41 5k races.
An SCS is an electrical device that is attached to my spinal cord with wire leads that send electrical impulses to my brain from control module/batteries implanted under my skin. These newer, electronic body parts send signals through my nervous system’s older, original circuitry, that rush to my brain to trick it by disrupting the chronic pain impulses from nerve damage and scar tissue within me. This electric river, this circuit of impulses, is what has allowed me (and inspired me) to compete in 5k races and to continue to use my personal narrative as a jumping-off point to create artwork that brings up larger, more universal themes. I have begun to see my race routes as another circuit helping me retake control of my own physical being. This self-empowerment has drastically changed the way I make artwork too. I have found a way to prescribe a therapeutic experience by using GPS to draw, electronically, the circuits I race. When I make art about my health in this manner, I also affect it. The collaboration I have is not a traditional, external pairing. My collaboration is actually a partnership between systems within me.
I take the GPS map data and digitally draw each of these race circuits. I think of these drawings as residue from a performance, the race. I take photographs of one of the three doses of medications I take each day and layer in the mapping images, adding icons from electrical circuitry diagrams. I then animate some parts of those images suggesting seeing the race circuit as an electrical circuit. I will display 12 of these images on 12 LCD panels in line, around a gallery creating a circuit, path, through the installation