In The Frame: La Machine – Phelim Hoey

Posted 7 months ago in More

In the Frame

La Machine

Phelim Hoey

“For some time now, I have been fascinated by fear. This fascination started during my study, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS in short, a neurological disorder). The certainty of knowing that I suffer from MS led to a mountain of questions and uncertainties. When will the disease manifest itself? Will I become handicapped, and just how disabled will I eventually get? What is my life expectancy and will I become blind (for me the disease mainly manifests itself in the eyes)? My future perspective changed so drastically that in the first few months I lost my hope for a happy and qualitative life. The feeling of immortality, something I certainly had in my early twenties before I was diagnosed, had also suddenly disappeared. I had to learn to deal with new fears that became part of my daily life.

For most people the body is self-evident. We always feel like we can rely on its functioning, and that it doesn’t require immediate attention. People are not necessarily aware of their body and its functioning on a day-to-day basis. In a specific situation, like a disease, its functioning can suddenly become the subject of reflection. Autonomy and independence are important in this society, and often a big part of one’s identity. In my case, being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it is no longer self-evident that the body carries out actions – sometimes not even the simplest. These experiences lead to alienation, fear and an instrumental vision towards the body. With the loss of the certainty of a functioning body, the identity is also compromised.

This photo above symbolizes how I see my body at the moment. It sets a big trap for itself. Everything is connected in an unbalanced way. As time goes on, the inevitable moment comes where the candle will burn the rope, and by doing so destroy itself.

Who I am, and how the diagnosis and disease influence my identity is something I will research in the coming year. I will visualize the continuously changing relationship I have with my body. The project will consist of a personal diary, motion studies, films and sculptures. This project is supported by Mondriaan Fund“.

In 2017 I received the Emerging Artists award from Mondriaan Fund. The still untitled project will be shown at Art Rotterdam (6 – 10 February 2019, De Van Nellefabriek, Rotterdam) and will also be part of The Irish Photo Festival 2019 that will launch on the 4th of July at The Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland, Dublin. Right now, I work as an artist in residence at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz, which is also supported by Mondriaan Fund.



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