Deterioration

In January 2010, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that decreases cognitive and physical abilities over the course of a decade or so, often resulting in disability or sometimes death. That said, it is quite idiosyncratic–no two people have the same trajectory or march of decline. Each year, MS patients have at least one MRI scan to observe the progress of the illness and to assess possible treatment options. Regardless (as of this writing), treatment consists of merely staving off the inevitable; there is no cure.

Possessing the films of each scan, I have translated and altered select images from my brain as a form of documentation. These scans are sublime records of specific points in time. By altering the original photographs, they transform from medical signifiers and photographic indexes of the disease’s progress to something else entirely. They become decorative relics and almost shrine-like. Moreover, digitally manipulating these MRI scans are a way of exerting control over the slowly debilitating illness. I take something that has an intrinsic meaning, that is the deterioration of my brain, and turn it into a beautiful object, as well as choose how to represent this aspect of my body. Each scan set has its own color scheme; red expressly appears as part of the design in scans that have new lesions, which denotes change. This project is perhaps the most personal I have done, depicting the decay of my own grey matter.

Medium: Digital Media/Photo