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Mal de Débarquement

Kolaiti, Christina (2016) Mal de Débarquement. York St John University. (Submitted)

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The development of this multi-component output began in 2015, on a sixteen hour long, nauseous journey from the UK to Amsterdam. This experience recalled the frequent bouts of seasickness that marked my childhood on a Greek island, an hour from the port of Piraeus, and became the starting point for a photographic project, which draws metaphorical links between a diagnosable condition called Mal de Débarquement (Ménière’s Society, 2015) – a term referring to nausea experienced during long journeys - and the notion of self.

Female subjects who according to Ménière (2015) are most likely to be affected by MDDS, pose in front of a seascape. The element of water symbolises the sea journey, which is necessary to trigger MDDS, while physical stillness is believed to exacerbate the symptoms of nausea resulting to a “phantom perception of selfmotion” (NORD, 2020). Following this idea, photographic subjects have been instructed to stand still and pose as another member of their family, thereby adopting someone else’s body language, gaze and expression. This experimental approach to portraiture has been influenced by ideas describing the systemic model in psychotherapy, according to which a person’s perception of self is not formed in solitude but is part of a family system or context (Bowen, 1974).

According to Bowen’s proposition, individuality resonates in a web of possibilities within the same familial system, where the self is weaved through the traits of others. Distinctly, a woman on the final days of pregnancy poses as her father; individuality stands at the intersection between stillness and movement, self and Other, experience and performativity, originality and imitation. In this work these paradoxes present cumulative dyadic, triadic yet, non-singular portraits, proposing a relational and rather metaphorical nausea of self.
This research was developed through an Arts Council England International Development Fund for the project Synomilies (Greece, 2016) instigating a multidisciplinary dialogue with ar1sts working with the written and performed word. This body of work formed a publication Kolaiti, C. (2020) Mal de débarquement : Ναυτία. ISBN 978-1-5272-6341-3.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: August 5-9th 2016
Status: Submitted
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography > TR624-835 Applied photography (including artistic, commerical)
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4612

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