2015 :: The Art of Pain

Timed to coincide with National Pain Week, The Art of Pain discussed contemporary pain research and its implications via an exhibition, an expert conversation, and panel discussions revolving around the experience and management of pain. It was presented by ANAT, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Pain Adelaide, and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Somatic Drifts, presented by Art of Pain participant Cat Jones, came out of her 2014 Synapse Residency at the School of Medicine and Pharmacology, UWA (see last week’s post). This sensory, one-to-one artwork and accumulative audio-visual installation explored trans-human and inter-species empathy, by enabling each participant to experience the bodies of other entities through body illusion and touch. Bodies and narratives travelled beyond their own boundaries to ask: What realm does the human body exists within? How far can we drift? What can this drift enable us to change?

Cat recalls that during the Synapse research phase she was “devouring research papers and meeting with a stream of clinicians, researchers and health workers”, feeling like a “strange kind of pollinator – seeding ideas for some and transporting new research between them.”

Later, she found performing Somatic Drifts to be “euphoric, like many of the participants I lose sense of time and space, real and virtual, and a blurring of their body and mine. Its concepts live across multiple planes too – sensory art, pain science, vegetal cultures, queer thinking, very personally in participant’s lives and within mine.”

And this year, half a decade after Cat’s Synapse Residency, “we’ve published new research that came out of my observations” and “I’ve discovered that I have ‘mirror touch synaesthesia’ …”

You can view documentation of Somatic Drifts here https://vimeo.com/99556951

In 2015 ANAT also partnered with three other organisations to host Unfixed, a residency for Deaf and disabled artists from Australia and the UK.

Image: Cat Jones, Somatic Drifts (2014), installation view (sound design Melissa Hunt)

Cat Jones, Somatic Drifts (2014), installation view (sound design Melissa Hunt)