“The Tipping Point: Health Narratives from South End Artists” involves gallery
goers in a co-active experience that resonates issues of body and health from the
surrounding community. The site for this exhibition could not be more appropriate.
Situated at the heart of Boston’s South End, a lively neighborhood including many
artists living and working within a wide variety of cultures, the Mills Gallery
is a one-of-a-kind space that provides artists a supportive venue for showing
community based work. It offers the Greater Boston Area (an epicenter of
ground-breaking technology development) unparalleled opportunities for
experiencing innovative art forms.
This cross-pollination of art, technology, and anthropology will enrich and broaden the dialogue for all participants. Dr. Ginsburg uses phenomenological research methods to arrive at an understanding of the subjects tipping points. This is accomplished through the use of open-ended interviews, informal discussion and participant-observation. The aim is to be faithful to the participant’s story. Reporting the data involves interpretation and conjecture in deciding what to select, but its main role is to describe rather than to explain. Within the discipline of medical anthropology, narrative has been used as a means to grasp areas of personal and social experience of illness not attainable within the confines of biomedical research or anthropological/sociological research. These disciplines are often too concerned with larger scale issues within the constitution of illness and sickness in a given society. The phenomenological approach is best suited for the proposed research in that it is designed ‘to illuminate the specific, to identify the phenomena through how they are perceived by the actors” (http://www.anthro-phd.dk/web).
The research findings are arranged according to themes and topics. Ms. Hall distills the health narratives into an interactive art installation translating each narrative into mechanical tipping points. Robotic elements will are built that focus on the flexible relationships between such issues as body/heath and community/individual and public/private self. The installation may evoke questions such as how can we decipher the ambiguities surrounding the body? How can we obtain precise information about ourselves? How can we maintain our individual integrity? The investigation of these issues regarding the body politic-objectification of the individual and sometimes contradictory discourses surrounding certain technologies is essential to reinterpreting the place of the individual as a corporeal entity in society.
The gallery exhibition-and narrative by extension - posits some of these questions in the examination and representation of how we can all perceive the tipping point as an agent of change. “The Tipping Point: Health Narratives from South-End Artists,” represents the participants ongoing interest in ways in which technology intersects and affects our perceptions of our bodies, our lives, our imaginations and our culture. More specifically this project explores, how contemporary techno-culture is reconfiguring the dichotomies of nature/artifice, real/virtual and body/embodiment.