The research generated in and outside the studio for the duration of the Master of Applied Arts program, and indeed as a life-time pursuit, has been realized in an examination of the body’s relationship to prosthetics and embodiment. Through a drawing-centered studio practice, I have chosen to examine the body’s relationship to trauma, extension and adaptation, as a means of better understanding my own lived experience and those living under similar circumstance. The research has guided me from collage work – the fractured, fragmented body exposed as a collection of parts – to exploring the re-interpretation of a bodily whole.
My primary research project has been largely determined by a grant I received from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, titled The Fashionable Prosthetic: investigating the visibility and new fashion of prosthetic research, contextualizing the role and impact of technology and medical engineering research on both the appearance of prostheses and the potential for greater embodied sensibility/awareness. This project (re-titled Beyond the Skin) has required a breadth of inquiry that in some ways drew me away from the studio, and has subsequently become the main focus for the written component of my thesis.
The choice to delve formally and artistically into prosthetics, trauma, adaptation and extension is both of personal and general interest. My experiences with trauma and its long-term effects has crept and settled into my own body, allowing access to what I believe to be an expanded embodied knowledge. Additionally, prosthetics have appeared in past works as metaphor for loss and trauma; however engagement with this subject, while still operating in the realm of metaphor, has expanded to include the possibilities for adapted embodied experiences.