How to be Other than a body
How to be Other than a body is part fictional ethnography and part instructive manual.
The work manifests as a set of sculptures and two video works. The main sculptural
element is a contemporary version of a Holy Well. Holy Wells are very common within
the Irish landscape and are deeply rooted within the Irish psyche. Initially known to have
been used as sites of pagan ritual and then co opted by the catholic church, each well is
associated with a different saint and has a specific condition that drinking/washing in the
water can cure. Groups of people have gathered at these sites to pray in various guises
over the centuries and most are adorned with a myriad of talismans.
The Holy Well that is central to How to be Other than a body is made from household items
such as attic water tanks and a paddling pool plumbed together to create a functioning water
feature that mimics the role of the traditional holy well. The water that flows through this well
contains traces of the chemicals mifepristone and misoprostol. These are chemicals that are used
to bring about abortion. The central video work, which acts as a framework to understand the
objects that we find before us in the gallery, is set in a computer generated landscape.
It is suggested through an ethnographic style voice over, that the ‘cure’ that the holy well provides
is access to abortion. The second video work, is a Tarot reading that takes place at a kitchen table
in relation to the eight amendment to the Irish constitution, the amendment that until recently
made abortion illegal in Ireland.