Sitting here, in this enlarged work-in-progress sketch of the human female, I am sitting in an archetypal body, but I’m also sitting in my body and in my ancestors bodies. I feel like I am sitting in a russian doll of bodies. Metaphorically they are nesting inside one another, then I unpack them and set them down slowly one by one in a row. Stories about my grandmother’s lungs and her emphysema come to me. My mother’s operation to remove a tumour from her lung. My relief as I breathe in and out of my own lungs while I type this out. I am sitting here breathing. My lungs are working. I am alive.
This work is dedicated to listening my organs, to connecting with them and imagining language that might emerge from them. Could, perhaps, words be generated by each individual organ in the body? Before, I presumed language was produced from the brain. Then I thought about how the body speaks to us in many ways, which we mostly ignore, and how remarkable it is that our bodies do so much for us, but we often abandon them.
In this lab, the organs are floating on top of the canvas. Inside a real body they are all layered on top of one another, making them hard to examine. So, here I have each organ drawn on a separate piece of paper. When I choose an organ to explore, I take it into my hands and hold it. Although its form is drawn on the lightest of translucent tracing paper, I imagine its weight, its form, its texture, its function in keeping me alive. What does this vital part of the body do? Why do I need it? What is my relationship with this organ I so depend on? Can I feel it in my body. Do I know it is there?