This work is a representation of the ongoing renegotiation and reconciliation with personal traumas and mental illness—particularly bipolar disorder. It is an opportunity to document and compose both tangible and ethereal aspects of my experience. Through the photographs that constitute this work, I consider the tensions surrounding memory, the physical body, and notions of beauty.
Despite its malleability, memory has the potential to reconnect and clarify the ambiguities of the past. Through my traumas and dissociative tendencies, memory has been a central and enigmatic aspect of the work. However, more challenging but perhaps equally important is to accept the value of forgetting in the same healing process. Forgetting can free one from the past and create space for movement. I am drawn to these concepts, not as two opposing poles, but as two forces that can work in tandem or even interchangeably toward a unified goal of resolution.
This work has allowed me the opportunity to openly speculate on the implications of aesthetics and traditional notions of beauty in relationship to the subject matter. Through aesthetic mediation, this work attempts to reflect on and communicate a tone which is often intangible, and to visualize a chaotic experience with a level of coherence. However, through aestheticizing the experience, I must also contend with the reliance on my own subjectivity, as well as the conflicted history of that process and its relationship to Romanticism.
Exploration of the disconnect between the psychological and physical self has been illuminating, though troubling, in making this work. There is positive potential in framing healing as reconnection between mind and body; however, emphasizing this idea risks reinforcing the false distinction between the two. The process of re-inhabiting my body is represented in this project through interventions between myself and the medium in ways that draw attention to the perceived disconnection.
With this project, I aim to reflect on, illustrate, and accept my lived experience and to embrace a new relationship with myself and the world. Though it is a record of a personal process, my hope is that it communicates a broader narrative on healing and reconciliation.