Elizabeth M. Claffey
The culmination of this work can be exhibited as a fabricated examination room and waiting area or each piece can be displayed individually. For installation views, please contact the artist.

"Blood Lines" explores the relationship between medical science and life experience. This work considers how individual interactions with medical practices and institutions can have a lasting influence on one’s quality of life and how the clinical examination of intimate physicality can cause a person to view his or her body as a foreign or feared object.

This work acknowledges the universal inevitability of bodily deterioration and the physical and emotional effects of medical intervention. The physical expression of illness can become falsely symbolic of a weak ethos; in this art work, personal narrative, images, and installation encourage viewers to consider their own experiences of medical examination and the ways in which social fears of aging, sickness, and mortality have influenced such experiences through the institutionalized norms of medical practice. Despite the understanding that can be developed between the body and mind, visual limitation restricts our access to knowledge of internal processes. To reach beyond intuition, many turn to medical institutions. Emphasizing uncertainty and vulnerability, and the clinical nature of modern medical practices, this project shows how the body can be perceived as a foreign object within the starkness and sterility of the examination room.

"Blood Lines" acknowledges feelings of isolation that can accompany the experience of examination and diagnosis. This acknowledgement serves to lessen feelings of aloneness that often perpetuate silence and shame in face of illness. Isolation can occur on a basic level, in language. The development of language for living with illness has been sporadic and inadequate. This lacuna begins in the examination room where one encounters generic inspirational art objects, pamphlets, and drug advertisements that emphasize the importance of a positive attitude. These messages often moralize sickness and place heavy burdens of responsibility on the patient. Through visual and verbal storytelling, the artist’s work navigates a more honest exploration of illness.

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