Flat Pack Force Feeding Chair developed through researching systems of control on an institutional and societal level. Initially inspired by the musician Mos Def’s video for the charity Reprieve where he underwent the force-feeding procedure used in Guantanamo Bay. At the time 40 detainees were on hunger strike in protest at their detainment and were being force-fed twice a day.
What fascinates me about this institution is the extent of its control and how as the philosopher Foucault says power is enacted on the body. The chair is the site of power it enables the feeding procedure to take place. This project came to embody how we are all controlled and made to comply and how that plays out on a personal level. It symbolises how we are force fed the ideological basis of capitalism and consumerism. This regulation is so integral to the infrastructure of society that Ikea could make a flat-pack version of this instrument of control.
This art piece is used to override disobedient actions and ideas, it questions the individual notion of freedom, and what it is to experience being restrained and controlled. Its intention is to be engaged on a bodily level and challenges the position of an art object as something not to be touched and interacted with. It is a direct intervention and is disobedient to the contemporary art world, which can make art inaccessible and exclusive.
I graduated in Fine Art at the University of the West of England. Since university I have worked for a number of arts and health organisations. Before my degree I was a mental health support worker, a year of which was on an inpatient psychiatric ward. Working in mental health as someone with lived experience was a very formative time. It gave me a deeper understanding of the human condition and how mental illness is as much a result of the society we live than as a medical diagnosis.
Throughout my life I have been seeking to understand the world around me to have greater insight into underlying processes. My art practice is about emotionally resonating with a subject or approach and playing with the surrounding ideas. Humour features heavily in what I do as it opens difficult dialogues and shakes people out of habitual ways of thinking. For me, art is a process of discovery and articulating my thoughts. It provides a focus to play out trains of thought whether through writing, painting, sculpture, performance or discussion. Currently I am developing a free art school to be run in underprivileged areas, to make art education accessible, and to bring together those facing social isolation. It is my intention to bring together art activism with my own personal creative development, as I believe art can be a tool for personal and social change.