School of Art – MFA2 – Art & Technology
Exposing somatic traces, visualizing bodily sensations.
Unlike broken bones, some sensations leave no trace that can be viewed on current medical devices. How would conversations around pain and questions of seemingly subjective experience change if we could reveal these hidden traces?
Somatic means “Of or relating to the (or a) body; bodily, corporeal, physical” (Oxford English Dictionary). Our experiences of our bodies are real, physical happenings, but may be difficult to define, as we cannot trade sensations. Instead, we trade metaphors or linguistic approximations – butterflies in the stomach, heartburn, headache – and gain an understanding of our bodies through cause and effect. But what of the sensations that arise outside of this precarious shared knowledge? Do we have the words to articulate the new or unusual? If words fail us, how can we seek recognition, empathy, or shared delight?
I invite you to take a moment. Observe your own body. What sensations do you feel?