This week I have begun my filmmaking process. I have started with the pain sequence. To begin with I wanted to focus on my ribs. I have Classical Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects my entire body. My connective tissue is more fragile, causing issues in my joints, organs, skin, bones, ligaments and so on. In the UK medical departments focus on areas of the body or certain types of connections, metaphorically dismantling the body.
Prior to my diagnosis and even in part now, when I have been a patient in biomedical spaces, these various departments have found looking at my condition holistically difficult. My condition is porous, affecting my entire body, but these departments find it hard to understand a condition which has no interest in how modern medicine has chosen to divide the human anatomy.
As such, it can be objectifying when in these spaces, I am cut up and inspected but rarely seen as a full human being with a condition that is knitted into the fabric of who I am, my very DNA. I am my condition, it’s why I have large eyes and soft skin and also why I have failing organs and a collapsing spine, I experience the world through my body and I am my body.
I want the film to explore this feeling of a dismantled body, so the section on pain will focus on particular parts of the body and how those parts experience pain.
I have started my filmmaking process by focusing on my ribs. My ribs are loose, they move and fold over one another, they slip and they become inflamed. When the cartilage between the ribs becomes inflamed I experience a condition called Costochondritis. It is not a serious condition, but it is extremely painful and is often compared to the feeling of having a heart attack. I have this condition chronically. It feels as though something is filling my chest and expanding and my rib cage is being pushed and ripped apart. It also burns and stings.
I have previously created a digital collage to convey this feeling, as seen below. So I am using this collage as a starting point for the film sequence.
I am using stock footage of swarms of bees and wasps and of chest scans, along with my collage, which I have animated to create the sequence in time with a piece of music composed by my husband in response to the theme of pain.