Personal medical waste, pvc tubing, acrylic paint
Installation variable dimensions
This work explores our complex relationship with plastic, in a personal medical narrative context. Plastic is a material that is detrimental to our health and the health of our planet, yet it is also essential to saving lives and maintaining health every day—something the pandemic has bought into sharp focus; infection control measures like PPE, that are usually contained in medical contexts only, are now central to everyone’s daily rituals.
Inhale (the bright side) continues my exploration of life lived with chronic illness. I have collected as much single-use plastic medical waste as doctors would allow me to take home after appointments, tests and surgical procedures in the latter half of 2020. The work was ‘painted’ with acrylic paint using medical equipment like syringes rather than traditional artist tools, and is installed using medical tape. We often forget that much of the paint we use as artists is plastic.
The bright yellow reflects the duality and complexity of my lived experiences; it is simultaneously a colour of warning and danger, and of sunshine and positivity. The well-meaning but misguided positivity of those without lived experience of being in a highly medicalised body can often be psychologically toxic. Yet through my medical interactions and crisises, including near death experiences, I have experienced the profound generosity of strangers to care for me with intimacy and urgency; I am grateful for this, and for the plastics as well.
Exhibited in The Plastics, The Project Gallery, Griffith University, South Brisbane, February 2021.