dis/closure: What happens when we tell
Photography/ Art Installation
DIS/CLOSURE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TELL is a multimedia documentary installation incorporating sound, textile and artifact to represent the haptic and sensorial qualities attributed to childhood sexual trauma and recovery. More specifically, the project deals with sibling sexual abuse (SSA) and the power structures that make this form of abuse uniquely difficult to address, process and recover from. By interrogating systems of power—e.g. gender roles in the family, family hierarchies, cultural norms, patriarchy and religion—the work sheds light on how they enable abuse and how they distract attempts to confront and rectify wrong-doing. The overarching aim of this project is to represent the various ways survivors have dealt with SSA and facilitate further processing by airing this subject, inviting viewers to shoulder some of the stigma of their trauma through embodied spectatorship.
Dis/closure includes interviews with four adult survivors of SSA as they speak about their personal experiences in dealing with their trauma. Key points of the audio interviews are embedded into textile works such as embroidery, quilting, and soft sculpture that require the touch of the viewer to be activated. Each piece represents the absurd and uncanny qualities of a home and body violated by abuse and secrecy—what ought to be comforting is disturbing, where there should be safety is peril and what was once innocent becomes perverse.
Because trauma is a physical experience and because our relationship with textile is so interwoven with our childhood domestic lives, I utilise this dichotomy to confront viewers with their own complicity in allowing abuse to take hold in our society through their continued silence and discomfort. Asking the audience to engage physically with what is usually meant to be left undisturbed urges us all to consider the duplicity of something as basic and natural as human touch.
DIS/CLOSURE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TELL
Where: A Space – 401 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
When: August 5 – August 28, 2021
Katherine is a Canadian multidisciplinary documentarian and researcher from Prince Edward Island. Her love for storytelling led to a journalism degree and over six years reporting and photographing music, the arts and social justice movements. She has worked on short and feature length films in various roles from researching, to writing and directing. Through her experience in the MFA program she is experimenting with new forms of documentary storytelling, incorporating sound, image and textile.
Her work is fixated on the concept of nostalgia, family and the home and is heavily influenced by her attraction to texture and the textile traditions of her home in the maritimes.