My first ideas for this collaboration came towards the end of last year. Since then, many things have changed, but for the better.
– what kind of devices can we attach to the participant’s hand to simulate the physical sensations of CRPS?
– What CRPS symptoms do we want to imitate with the devices?
– We began to think about using gloves to get the right effects, but we then had to retrace and ask another question: do these gloves even exist?
– The answer was…. no. So our next mission was to find something basic and then modify it with all the juicy effects built in to it.
– Our solution: Use a good old ski glove.
Amazingly, everything seems to be going well and we are slowly ploughing on. We are currently up to the stage where our 3D model hands change in accordance with the effects of the glove. What would I do without Rosie?
Creating a perception of pain through physical manipulation is only one part of this research. What I’m also interested in is the sufferers’ state of mind – their anxiety and fear, anticipation, catastrophising, and hyper vigilance – and how they contribute towards creating pain narratives for each individual. I want to include these subjective states somehow in the research we are doing together during the Synapse Residency. I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I think I might be able to do it using one of the materials I have used from my previous artworks: Strings of barbed wire (see my installation, McGill Pain Questionnaire). I feel like I haven’t explored its full potential yet – the entangled nature of pain surely entices me to scrutinise further the rich possibilities of barbed wire. By artistically employing the barbed wire to create a threat value, I think it will enhance the narrative in the experience of CRPS. I will explain further in the next post.