Picturing a cloud of unknowing: photography, lostness, and cognitive decline
Ms Lucy CarolanZoom
Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which, while not impairing consciousness, affect memory, orientation, perception, comprehension and communication. The condition knows no social, economic, ethnic, gendered or geographical boundaries, and is proliferating as our ageing population increases.
The loss of cognitive function 一 that impairment of our ability to make sense of our experiences and find our place in the world 一 could be seen to reveal something about our relationship to reality: in ‘No Medium’ (MIT Press, 2013) Craig Dworkin states, “Erasures obliterate, but they also reveal; omissions within a system permit other elements to appear all the more clearly.” It’s at the point of break down that the essence of things may more easily be perceived: in the case of dementia, the disease gradually disrupts cognitive function to the degree that we may ask who we become when thus lost, and the nature of its symptoms, though imperceptible, have direct relevance to the visual arts.
This presentation will trace the rationale underpinning my doctoral project, arguing for the potentials of practice-based arts research to visually conceptualise lived experiences of invisible disabilities.