The Gut-Knowing
Transformation Without a Blueprint

In times of proliferating global crises (climate emergency, dwindling biodiversity, refugee crisis, Covid-19, the Russian war against Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East), I am grappling with a personal health crisis that also feels existential. For seven years I have been unable to find the cause or right treatment for my intestinal problems. Throughout these years, doctors regularly confronted me with the fact that, based on a variety of tests and according to the measurable data, I was healthy. Yet, my body was telling me something completely different.

Since the onset of an inexplicable sense of numbness in my body, I have been forced to discover on my own how to feel better. Photography has since been part of this search. Its omnipresence in our everyday lives and its seductive possibility to make a claim on reality have likely led me to choose it as my favourite tool. I consider the medium as a symptomatic lens for our society’s strong belief in the visible, the things we can measure and count, and its striving to control the world rationally and technically.

My master project is an autobiographical narrative, guiding the reader through different experiences and theoretical concepts I encountered in photo-theoretical, sociological, and philosophical literature, such as “separation” and “acceleration”. These recurring themes persisted across my experiences in photography, the school system, the health care system, and the asylum system.

Reflections are woven together with textual diary notes, collages from my notebooks, and photographs taken along the way. Through this form, I make my personal experiences and trajectory exemplary in exploring the relationship between physical and societal wellbeing, and the potential of photography.

I discuss my observations and reflections mostly using the theories of sociologist Hartmut Rosa, philosophers such as Susan Sontag, Bruno Latour, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Charles Eisenstein, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, and anthropologists Tim Ingold and Jay Ruby.

In the textual and visual elements of this written part of my graduation work, I strive to avoid binaries. Instead, I reflect on and make use of the affordances of photographs and photography to respond to experiences and societal problems in a rhizomatic, decentralised way. This is done – again – in a diaristic mode but also in the format of the workshop that I have started to explore as a collaborative form in my practice.

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