PA1N MAP/T0TAL R3CALL
(project born: 2016 year | header photo: Cecilia Bullo and Natalie Rublinetsky)
I came from Darkness. I came from the Inferno.
I have been hurting myself for many years. Whenever I was overwhelmed by mental pain, I would transform it to the physical realm where for me, the pain was more bearable. The Transformation of pain was achieved by cutting myself. This – brought relief to my mental pain, and also provided me with a sense of cleansing, with a cathartic affect. I recently decided to leave this dark place and stop inflicting pain on myself, and thus force myself to develop better ways to manage my pain.
To gain perspective on those many years of self-destruction and mental pain, I set out to map my self-inflicted injuries. I grew cultures of bacteria and yeast into a skin-like substance, and then I reconstructed the cuts previously inflicted directly on my skin, on the skin like substance.
This was also an exercise in curbing my impulse: growing the skin substitute takes about two-to three months and patience was required. At that point, the act of cutting had to be accurately implemented, based on the scars on my body, therefore I could not use the blade impulsively as I was used to when my own body was involved. I used my own blood to reflect the level of mental pain I experienced. I usually use my blood in my work because I find it to be a wonderful fire-like substance, symbolizing Life, Pain, and Death.
Each reconstructed cut was placed on my body, on top of the original cut and then photographed to create a ‘Map of my Pain’. In addition to that, a picture of each scar was made. The pictures were arranged chronologically and together they created a series forms, a ‘timeline of hurt’. I view this work as a parting ritual from my old self. By parting from my harming self, I hope to give birth to a new healthier me. Like a snake that outgrows his old skin before shedding it, so did I.
I’ve been exposed to violence since childhood, be it mental, sexual or physical.
That’s my background.
My childhood scared me on a mental level. It made me feel worthlessness, detached and self-deprecating. That was the reason I started scaring myself. Specific reasons varied, sometimes it was due to self-hatred, sometimes ruled by my wish to die, but mostly because physical pain made me forget the pain inside me, the suffocating one, the one I could not stand.
It was very difficult for me to get involved in such a project. Developing it was similar to a game of Russian roulette. My temperament could suddenly change and like a flood, destroy everything I was trying to create. Despair, loneliness and self-hatred could make me annihilate myself and everything associated with me.
While working on the project, I had to get back to those moments leading to self-harm. I had no choice. It was mentally demanding and exhausting.
To me, the important thing was managing to complete this project without any devastating episodes and with a feeling of empowerment. This is how I cope with the scars from the past. I create them outside of myself and I try them on once more, exploring how they fit today. All that makes this project absolutely authentic, natural and intensely vivid sometimes.
For many years I’ve been living in darkness and I know what it’s like to be there and how painful it could be. I believe that it’s my duty to tell my story and show that there is a way out and the path outside of Pain is full of Light. This to me, is the most important thing.
SPECIAL THANKS 4 DEAR PEOPLE WHO HELPED ME IN THIS PROJECT:
BERT VAN ZANTEN
POLINA TAL MELTZER