I spent the beginning of 2020 working on a thesis project meant to validate the time women spend living with chronic illness. My aim was to make the emotional toll of those experiences visible.
When I began my process in January, I was interested in adding a layer of personal narrative to typical medical forms and diagrams. I wanted to encourage a public conversation about health, a matter many consider private. I started by collecting data about health memories from both my MICA and online communities. For my first experiment, I posted a large diagram of a human body and asked people in my studio to label it with a memory attached to a body part.
In my second experiment, I put out a call on Instagram for my friends to tell me the worst pain they’d ever experienced. I took this data and created a new pain scale. A person's worse pain is highly individualized and I created a scale with a "slider" of pain experiences that the user can interact with in order to convey this subjectivity.
Early on in my making, I became hooked on experimenting with astrobrights. I enjoyed that they highlighted personal memories, while still referencing the replicable and endless quality of paper/paperwork at the doctor’s office. The clipboard became a natural artifact of the waiting room and went through several iterations.
By February, I had done good work opening up a conversation about health generally in my community. However, I realized the purpose of my exhibit wouldn’t be to engage everyone who passed through it on their specific health issues. The purpose was to give them a taste of chronic illness.
The final clipboards would have flipped to display different quotes about what patients with chronic illness are still waiting for. The intention was to place them on a wall of my exhibit spelling out "We Are Still Waiting" over wallpaper listing all the currently known autoimmune disorders. A door to the left of the clipboards would have told the story of this waiting in numbers and data. This space was meant to be a literal and metaphorical waiting room.