“Swallowed Whole” is a somber, animated, experimental film about surviving extreme isolation and physical limitations as a result of traumatic injury. The film weaves together photos, animations, videos and sound recordings and takes the viewer on an abbreviated jarring journey through physical and psychological landscapes of hospitalization and recovery. Some of the imagery and sounds were collected during The Arctic Circle 2013 Summer Solstice Expedition, an international research expedition for artists, writers, and scientists.
Edited to emphasize the physical impact of dropping, crashing, and slamming, the video repeats vertical frame-rolls from analog TV to metaphorically replay the impact that literally broke her back. The bone-crushing sounds and jarring movement echo throughout the film mirroring the repetition of trauma, and the trauma of repetition, commonly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. The recurring instability of the image reflects the fragility of her injured body while providing a palpable experience for the viewer. The piece is inspired in part by Joan Jonas’ “Vertical Roll,” (1972) which uses a common analog television set malfunction to create a shifting stage of activity. “Swallowed Whole” uses fragmentation to both tell and disrupt the story and serves as a window of empathy into PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) repetition compulsion.
After breaking my back in a sledding accident, I was forced to lie supine on the couch for an extended period of time during which my mind often descended into a desolate, disorienting dreamscape. Feeling stifled, I imagined that I was trapped under a frozen lake; life continued on above me while I looked up from below. This sensation became the kernel from which I created this film.