You Will Always Be With Me II, film 2021

W E B Du Bois talks about a double consciousness experienced by colonised people, it means ‘always looking at oneself through the eyes of the coloniser and measuring oneself by the standards of the colonising nation that looked back in contempt’. This double consciousness can also be applied to women living in patriarchal societies. By playing the protagonist in my film, as a shaman wearing her otherness and alienness for all to see is rewriting her own narrative for the future, she revels in her multiplicity, in her search for that elusive place called ‘home’.

 

Organorum Installation with cast ham leg, Nose object fabricated on CNC

 

Installation at the WIP show February 2020 at the RCA. An article on the lived experience of women in the middle east and Asia led to Divya’s researching on the relationship between body memory of pain and it’s reinforcing the notion of femininity in girls. The aversion of raw meat in the butcher shop by some of the interlocutors gave led her to experiment with casting a leg of lamb in silicone and then in jesmonite and wax. Materials are a conduit to expressing ideas and emotions and this project allowed her to experiment and learn.

 

With further reading up on the thinking on female sexuality in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was during the industrial revolution and the major development of cities and modern lifestyles that was thought to cause lethargy or melancholy, leading to hysteria. At the time female patients sought medical practitioners for the treatment of hysteria. The rate of hysteria was so great in the socially restrictive industrial period that women were prone to carry smelling salts about their person in case they swooned, reminiscent of using odours to coerce the uterus back into place.

Wilhelm Fliess, an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Fliess, whom Freud had called “the Kepler of biology”, had developed theories today considered pseudoscientific, including the belief that sexual problems were linked to the nose by a supposed nasogenital connection. Fliess had been treating “nasal reflex neurosis” by cauterizing the inside of the nose under local anaesthesia.

This became the impetus to make the large CNC Nose object for the installation.