Friday, 1 January 2010

The Seventh Nerve

Last summer I came across some photographs by the 19th French physician Duchenne de Boulogne. He had devised a type of electro-physiological mode of investigation about the facial muscles responsible for our emotions. Boulogne believed that each muscle in our face was responsible for a different emotion. This was subsequently disproven (emotions are conveyed via groups of muscles) but I was fascinated by the concept. In my moving-image work I am constantly striving to convey the internal via the body and the face. So after research involving a couple of covert visits to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London where I have a doctor friend, and auditioning fifteen actresses telling me their most painful memory, I finally shot The Seventh Nerve. It is a triptych shot on 16mm film, three continous and simultaneous shots which last about 3mn of the face of a woman reliving a painful memory, reacting to painful imagery, and reacting to a peripheral nerve stimulator (the same type that Boulogne used) attached to her body.

Stills to follow...

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