Stomach Ache is a research-driven curatorial project exploring the felt experience of complex health issues that originate in the gastrointestinal tract, at a time when up to 40% of people worldwide experience digestive complaints that have no clear cause. It explores how art and creative practice can provoke new relationships with this complex part of our anatomy, enhancing and challenging medical investigation into the links between trauma, diet, environment, and digestion.
Stomach Ache asks two questions:
- How are people living with undiagnosed gastrointestinal complaints forced to think creatively in response to their symptoms? How do they experiment with alternative forms of information and treatment, where doctors are unable to give a clear diagnosis? What new definitions of social justice, ethics and care are raised by this?
- How can an expanded definition of creative practice (visual art, curating, and informal approaches to thinking creatively about one’s health) provoke new relationships with the gastrointestinal system?
We are in the first phase of the project. We are interviewing people experiencing gastrointestinal complaints about the ways they have been forced to think creatively and experimentally in accessing information, treatment, and support. These interviews will inform the development of an exhibition and book anticipated to launch late 2024.