Art Series; Pandemonium *Trigger Warning*

Title: “Pandemonium”

Medium: Mixed Media, including: Old computer tower, ink, acrylic paint, tracing paper, Mylar, glue, adhesive, old keyboard, sheet, embroidery thread

Size: “Trusted Society For Ethical Treatment” 19” x 5”  “Political Incarceration The Asylum Era” 15.3” x 16” x 7.8” “Behind These Ableist Walls” 18” x 6.5” x 0.6” “Societies Acceptance Of Filicide” 19” 6” x 0.5, “Forgotten Form” approximately 7″ x 7″ and “Trapped In Space” approximately 5″ x 5.5”

Date: October 2020

            Space is where things are housed, memories are housed within the constructs of the mind which is an internal space. Being confined to one’s mind can be torment, and in a time when asylums were used to house the mentally ill/physically disabled. Not only were many tortured within their minds from the confines of society, but they were tormented by the staff of the asylums physically.   Each piece in this series builds on the ideas of each other and plays with the ideals and confines of space. They deal with restrictive nature of space, but also the openness of space. There is a metaphorical reference in my work, as an old space holds an even older space that is suspended within time in the vastness of the digital world.

            Taking old space occupied by technical pieces to serve the user, and turning it a space where harm was done to those who didn’t fit into the societal norm at the time, society was reserved for those who fit into their pristine box. By removing the guts of the keyboard and computer tower, it freed up space for my concepts. I used paper, Mylar, paint, ink to create the spaces of human derangement, not derangement of the people sent to the asylums for treatment. But derangement of the people who were to help treat those housed in its confined, drab, sadistic space.

            Mental illness, deformities, and abnormalities within society were once viewed as something that did not have a right to exist within the societal space. The people that did not fit into the confines of the abled bodied were deemed lesser beings and thus treated poorly. They were shipped off to an Asylum where many of them would never leave. Ableism runs deep through out history and is something that exists within the spaces of medical facilities. Through my research I found information I all ready knew, but also learnt more about the poor living conditions that woman, men and children were forced to live in for being differently abled. The morality of there being weaker unworthy people because of their abilities being different, is vastly inpatriate in nature. Ableism is truly the cultrate for this thinking. Ableism was also the basis for Hitler’s “master-race” plan in regards to eradicating disabled people, Hitler attributed to the murder of around 200,000 handicapped people between 1940-1945 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).

“Trusted Society For Ethical Treatment” 19” x 5”  
Mylar from inside of the dismantled keyboard, Acrylic paint, India ink

            “Trusted Society For Ethical Treatment” The painting an ink piece done on a piece of Mylar that was from inside of an old keyboard. The old keyboard housed this piece of Mylar this piece that existed in the internal space of the keyboard. I took the keyboard apart, painted on the Mylar and put ink on it and created this piece. This piece is representational of the trust put into those of power, doctors, nurses, physiatrists, people whom where to be “trusted.” Asylum life was not something anyone should have trust. The inhume living conditions that the mentally and physically disabled were forced to live in are currently something that is unspeakable in nature. The fact that people resulted to things like hydrotherapy, where they almost boiled people alive something unheard of today. Children were chained to radiators, walls, beds to prevent them from leaving, roaming free. It was to confine them to a space they were housed in, while being strapped into a straight jacket. Electroshock therapy was done to the extreme causing brain trauma, electroshock done right can currently help those suffering from things like bipolar disorder, this type of electroshock is not as extreme as what was used in the Asylum Era. The lobotomy evented by Dr António Egas Moniz in 1935, he thought he was helping people, but what he did was impede their abilities, a case that people tried burry was the case of Rosemary Kennedy she was 23 when Dr António Egas Moniz lobotomized her diminishing her quality of life. This piece houses all of these things on this small piece of Mylar, created to overload the eye.            

            “Behind These Ableist Walls” and “Societies Acceptance Of “Societies Acceptance Of Filicide” for these pieces I used the part of the keyboard that housed the keys. I popped out all of the keys, given the age of the keyboard, many of them broke. This piece is black, I did add red to parts of the keyboard base. I wanted it to be mostly black so that white would stand out more. Using emotive faces, I drew I wanted to show the varied confinement within the piece. This piece and the other “Societies Acceptance Of “Societies Acceptance Of Filicide” are to be displayed next to check other. I would ideally like sounds playing along with this grouping of works. Filicide is defined by the Oxford dictionary as someone “who kills a son or daughter; a slayer of his own child.” There are many instances where this seems to be an “OK” thing for a parent to do, more often then not society feels for the caregiver more so then the individual who is suffering. It is as though the life of the person whom is disabled/mentally ill is not as important by societies standards going to show the deep-seated ableism in society. The space in society that occupies more room for ableism and filicide is still growing and not shrinking.

“Political Incarceration The Asylum Era” 15.3” x 16” x 7.8”
Mylar from inside of the dismantled keyboard, Acrylic paint, India ink, dismantled computer tower, tracing paper, Mylar, Adhesive

            “Political Incarceration The Asylum Era” The larger piece that has work all around it and all within it is based inside and on an old computer tower. How are used to house memory for the computer disk drives the motherboard all of the things within the external space and internal space have been removed to be filled with artistic images. Images on tracing paper that have been solidified with paint and then Marge podge to over top and I took more of the Mylar from within other keyboards and cut it up and pasted it in the piece to represent slides of blood in pain and anguish from the asylum era How are used to house memory for the computer disk drives the motherboard all of the things within the external space and internal space have been removed to be filled with artistic images. Images on tracing paper that have been solidified with paint and then Marge podge to overtop and I took more of the Mylar from within other keyboards and cut it up and pasted it in the piece to represent slides of blood in pain and anguish from the asylum era. 

              “Forgotten Form” and “Trapped In Space” these two pieces were initial concepts but I decided to include them as a part of the final project each hand embordered piece took around ten hours each. The two are to be displayed together. These pieces are representational of how people whom were taken to asylums were forgotten. They were perhaps trapped within one’s mind, more so after being lobotomized. The shape of human trapped within space of the asylum and now forever trapped within the thread of my work. Never to escape the space that confined them. There are many stories of haunted asylums’ the energy caused by filicide is locked within the walls of asylums, causing a disruption in time and space. Forever trapped within the space of confinement, now confined to the articles on the internet, and trapped within the threads and fabric where their images came to be.


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Published by Ari Villain

Artist and writer. Living with chronic illness and writing about it. I have survived two cancers, I live with hyperadrenergic postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, ehlers-danlos syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, jaundice, esophagus dysmotility, Chilblains, Raynaud's, migraines, asthma, and more. I have mental health problems which I am not ashamed of, I have CPTSD, anxiety, and depression. My medical history is extensive, but I will continue moving forward. I have hope to help others not feel isolated alone, and forgotten by an ableist society.

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