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Swallow

Swallow is an experimental video piece about mental health and the stomach. It aims to reorient the site of mental illness from the brain or immaterial psyche to the stomach and material body. It is greatly inspired by Elizabeth A. Wilson’s books Psychosomatic (2004) and Gut Feminism (2015). Both books urge feminists to utilize data from the field of biology and pharmacology rather than discarding it or taking a hard position of refusal. She calls the common understandings of mental illness “…bloodless, gutless theories of cognition…,” a sentence I obviously took note of in planning the aesthetic of Swallow. It is visceral and gross but striking and pertinent. In making Swallow, I aimed to animate Elizabeth A. Wilson’s assertion that the gut is a “particularly potent psychological organ.” The combination of found footage, somatic sounds and images, and scientific data merge to create a unique viewing experience that enables reflection and reconsideration of common conceptions of mental health and the body.

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