Tag Archives: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Struggles and anxieties in order to create anxieties

My first ideas for this collaboration came towards the end of last year. Since then, many things have changed, but for the better.

For example:

– 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.


Eugenie Lee and chronic pain research with Body in Mind (Sansom Institute, Unversity of SA) and Charles Perkins Centre (University of Sydney)

Here is a brief introduction of myself and my project for Synapse residency 2015 by Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT).

I am an interdisciplinary artist with a strong focus on chronic pain, founded on my own personal pain experience. For the last few years I’ve been working on sculptures, installations, performance and paintings to communicate the complexities of chronic pain issues.

In 2014, I received a research residency grant from Accessible Arts to work with a neuroscientist who specialises in chronic pain, Professor Lorimer Moseley, and his team Body in Mind (BIM) at the University of SA and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) in Sydney. The 8 month long residency gave me an opportunity to learn, witness and participate in various scientific experiments and studies, and also to meet a number of world-renowned scientists in the field.

During my Synapse residency this year I will be researching and developing toward an artwork with my collaborating scientists that will simulate the experiences of chronic pain patients – specifically of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – within a Virtual Reality Environment (VRE). The idea for this VRE concept came as a direct result of Accessible Arts research residency. To accompany the VRE I will also be looking into creating an installation to enhance the VR experience – possibly by incorporating other fun devices to manipulate visual perception in the brain of a participant.

Chronic pain is a complex disease and studies into it have shown that by altering our sensory perceptions the brain can be made to interpret pain differently. This is the core theme of what we are trying to experiment during my residency.

The key members of the project team are:

Dr. Tasha Stanton, a postdoctoral research fellow from Body in Mind (BIM), Sansom Institute, UniSA and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA),

Prof. Philip Poronnik, a professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sydney (USYD),

Dr. Valeria Bellan (BIM),

Dr. Carolyn Berryman (BIM),

Stuart Esdaile, a programmer, IdeaLab (USYD)

Rosie Menzies, a medical student, programmer (USYD)

Matindi Twyford-Moore, science student (USYD)