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Image description: A black landscape image with text only. To the left, sliver text formed like liquid mercury reads ‘Pathology of Energy’. Centre right, three names in white text, stacked from top to bottom read ‘Panteha Abareshi, D Mortimer, Day Magee’. To the right, two white logos stacked from top to bottom read ‘Arts & Disability Ireland’ and ‘The Arts Council, An Chomhairle Ealaíon, funding the arts.’

Pathology of Energy

A commission by Arts & Disability Ireland featuring Body Without World by Day Magee, Limp as a Mince: Disability, Desirability, Shame by D Mortimer and NOT A BODY by Panteha Abareshi.

Curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais.


“Disease, which could be considered as much a part of nature as in health, becomes the synonym of whatever was ‘unnatural’.”

– Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDs and its Metaphors.

 

Pathology of Energy is an online exhibition that presents three new commissions by Panteha Abareshi, Day Magee and D Mortimer for Arts & Disability Ireland.

Through moving image and text, the exhibition addresses the pathology of energy, described by Susan Sontag in Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors, in which diseases and their stigmas become associated with certain identities and behaviours. This myth-making reinforces the belief that disease is controllable, in some way unnatural, and therefore deserving of guilt.

Originally a process inscribed on a number of broad behaviours and diseases, the pathology of energy became largely associated with queer bodies and HIV/AIDS. This includes the harmful perception that the energy, abundance, and apparent excesses of queerness gave way to deserving suffering and death. The legacy of this lives on in the pathologised nature of trans and sick bodies. Although the work of Abareshi, Magee and Mortimer occupies the slipstream of this history, their work complicates processes of pathologisation across a range of narratives, subjects, systems, acts, and histories through a crip (critically disabled) lens.

Many of the works deal with contested grounds of sexuality, gender, shame, myth, naming, and fetish in relation to disabled lives and the objects associated with this subjectivity, mining contemporary myths of sickness, offering nuanced perspectives, centering disease and its aftermath as an innate force in life.

Panteha Abareshi’s moving image work NOT A BODY, uses hospital bracelets to explore the semantics of naming and language from the perspective of a medicalised individual. Through this repetitive motif, overlapping with harsh industrial sounds, we are given insight into the depersonalised conditions of illnesses in a bureaucratic system.

In their performing image work Body Without World, Day Magee appropriates the fairytale of The Princess and the Pea as a tale of neurosensitivity and chronic pain, reflecting on personal histories.

Using personal essay and poetry, D Mortimer’s Limp as a Mince: Disability, Desirability, Shame looks at ‘the limp’ as a way of exploring how both trans and disabled people have historically been pathologised as weak. Twisted means crippled but it also means perverted. Using Jean Genet’s 1946 text Miracle of the Rose and José de Ribera’s 1642 painting The Club Footed Boy as mobility aids, Limp as a Mince is a reading of ‘the limp’ as an image of radical malfunction in the machine of cisgender and heterosexual patriarchal capitalism.

Join artists Panteha Abareshi, Day Magee and D Mortimer and curator Iarlaith Ni Fheorais for a panel discussion, reflecting the artists’ work and ideas behind Pathology of Energy. Date to be announced.

Biographies

Panteha Abareshi is a Los Angeles based artist, whose work is rooted in their existence as a body with sickle cell zero beta thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes debilitating pain, and bodily deterioration that both increase with age. Being a chronically ill body has shaped their experience into one that is extremely, and highly isolating. The nuances of disability and chronic illness are lost on the average able-bodied individual, and the marginalisation, erasure and violence that they have endured from it alone is devastating. In combination with their personal notions of gender, racial and sexual identity, they are fully immersed in otherness. With so little discussion surrounding this, and little to no exploration of these topics in contemporary work, they aim to push against that lack of representation. In their practice they are warping concrete, physical forms into highly disembodied abstractions. Through their work they aim to discuss the complexities of living within a body that is highly monitored, constantly examined, and made to feel like a specimen. Taking images that are recognisable as human forms, and reducing them to gestural forms is a juxtaposition of their own body’s objectification, and dissection.

panteha.com

Day Magee is a genderqueer performance and visual artist based in Dublin. Since 2011, they have performed as part of live art organisations such as Livestock and the Dublin Live Art Festival, before pursuing a BA in Sculpture and Combined Media in Limerick School of Art and Design in 2017. Their work concerns the subjectivity of a queer sick body: queerness navigated via fundamentalist Christianity; sickness as manifest in chronic pain; and the body being the site of self-conception and the instrument of self-reproduction. Experience acts as the dynamo, and the ensuing emotional interiority is the well from which they draw, resulting in performance-centred/performance-initiated multimedia, performing images of a self-mythology.

daymagee.com

D Mortimer is a writer from London focused on trans and crip narratives. Their work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, Vice and at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Queers Read This). They are a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at The University of Roehampton working on naming in transgender subject formation. Their debut collection Last Night A Beef Jerk Saved My Life was published by Pilot Press in May 2021.

@fragile_masculinity

Iarlaith Ni Fheorais is a curator based between Ireland and London, UK. She is currently Curator-In-Residence at VISUAL Carlow.

Iarlaith is also a field:arts Independent Producer, a Creative Production Supports initiative funded by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. She is supported by Arts Council England through the Developing Your Creative Practice Award 2021 and the Agility Award by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

She is currently studying MA Art Praxis at the Dutch Art Institute.

@iarlaith_nifheorais

Image caption: Photograph of Day Magee

Image description: A head and shoulder photograph of Day – a white person in their twenties,  against a black back drop.  Their pose reminiscent of the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. They appear to be wearing nothing but a bottle green silk scarf that accentuates their green eyes. The scarf decorates the front of their head, reaches back in a bow that falls down there back. Chest turned to the left, they look over their shoulder to the camera, lips gently parted. Light falls into frame from the left casting light and shadow across upon their scarf and bone structure.

Body Without World by Day Magee

  • Audio Description

Moving image work. Duration 04:44 minutes. Created and performed by Day Magee, 2021. Curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais.

Image caption: Photograph of D Mortimer

Image description: Black and white photograph of D Mortimer, a white adult in their mid to late twenties.  They look stoically into the camera lens, sitting upright but comfortably upon a cushioned office chair. Behind them a busy looking desk and bookshelves laden with books, a few postcards here and there, a Kahlo print. D wears dark sweatpants and an unbuttoned stonewashed shirt over a white t-shirt. Their hands clasped but resting softly upon their lap. Sunlight falls in from the right.

Limp as a Mince: Disability, Desirability, Shame by D Mortimer


Personal essay and poetry, text work. Written by D Mortimer, 2021. Curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais.

Image caption: Photograph of Panteha Abareshi

Image description: A photograph of Panteha, a black person in their twenties. They look stoically into the camera sitting in a wheelchair with sky blue upholstery, beside a large window. They wear black clothes:  jeans, a sheer bra and shirt unbuttoned to below their chest. Panteha wears silver jewellery and has a number of black ink tattoos. One tattoo on her upper chest is of a building on fire. They wear long, thin, blonde braids in their hair. Behind Panteha in the corner sits a red leather chaise lounge, floor lamp and coffee table. Crutches rest on the floor. Sunlight falls through the windows and shadows of the large window frames are cast on the concrete floor. Outside the window is a cityscape.

NOT A BODY by Panteha Abareshi

  • Audio Description

Moving image work. Duration 07:18 minutes. Created by Panteha Abareshi, 2021. Curated by Iarlaith Ni Fheorais.