Using popular legal texts such as a Black's Law Dictionary,
my work questions the ways that law constructs the body. Studying the ways that bodies become subjects and objects of legal regulation, I am interested in how the
body comes into language, or law, and how our definitions make sense to us? Who's body stands as "thee" body in the law, what kind of body is described
in legal discourse, when is it property and how is it punished?
My research and artwork has recently dealt with the relationship between science, medicine
and the body. I have examined how science views the body, if science can yield a final truth, or, if science's objectifying effects obliterate and abandon other
truths; subjective, social and emotional.
In this recent installation I have experimented with combining the language of sculpture with the language of
science. Peering through the large circular hole cut-out of a legal dictionary, the viewer is allowed to see-through the legal text and into a large water-filled
glass vessel which serves as the underbelly / underworld to the authoritative "truths" located in the dictionary. In this space below, viewers are
presented with legal definitions not in their authoritative place, but rather, as suspended, floating fragments of text. Here, the pieces of text, like fragments
of meaning, are unmoored from their disciplinary context and sent adrift.
The meanings of the law are shown in this installation as being unstable and
fluid, yet also having the potential to enact disciplinary effects on the body. Pinned onto the wall and gathered into individual test tubes are suspended yet
sinking dictionary definitions of individual body parts and organs. These objects cast animated shadows like those of the body's internal organs.
within the wider aims of this project and associated conference on women and the law therefore, is to dialogue with those using legal language; to discuss the
effects of choices over language. This study carries over into important legal and social areas and debates within medical science, such as abortion, DNA testing
and cloning. As new visual technologies are currently making the human body into a virtual territory, new legal definitions of bodies and their parts are also
being written. I am interested in how these visual and legal territories over-lap. In my work, I want to leave the viewer with a lingering set of questions,
asking; what is our body's relationship to the law, who/what is in control, and what is our possible future?