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Consumed by consumption


MacDonald, AJ, Consumed by consumption, Academy Gallery,Launceston; Makers Workshop,Burnie,, pp. 3 paintings (2017) [Representation of Original Art]

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In recent years, there has been a renewed interest to explore the functional integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, and how its’ microbial residents influence human behaviour. There is evidence to suggest that immune challenges that influence anxiety and other depressive behaviours are associated with alterations in our gut microbiota. With states of poor mental health often referred to as ‘the invisible illness’, I was drawn to the micro and macro as a means of paying attention to the tiny unseens that ultimately contribute to building a bigger picture of gut-mental health. My inquiry drew from a diverse sample of perspectives. I collected anecdotal accounts from family and childhood friends who have experienced poor mental health, spiritual practitioners who described the criticality of their maintaining a healthy gut microbiome in order to achieve optimum clarity for their work as healers, and UTAS Human Life Science research colleagues who generously pointed me in the direction of studies and researchers conducting remarkable explorations into the gut-brain axis, and how the gastrointestinal tract might influence human mood and other behavioural disorders. The objective emerged to draw together seemingly incompatible yet clearly converging perspectives to render the inter-relationship between inside and outside, the verifiable and intangible, consumption and consequence. Prevalent across the diverse perspectives of gut and mental health I investigated was the recognition of a reciprocal relationship, which I identified through examination of experiential insights and specimen excerpts. The three vignettes comprising my inquiry have sought to capture, as through the microscope, a relationship between the aesthetic form of bodily organs (small intestine and brain) and food (a walnut) to prompt us to consider why particular foods resemble particular body organs, and interestingly, how the nutrient value of particular foods supports the vitality and health of the body organs they resemble. I was drawn to the reciprocal relationship between central nervous system, enteric microbiota and the gastrointestinal system, and the critical role of food in ‘fuelling’ interaction between these three systems. It was in examining this interaction that I worked within a Deleuzean perspective of becoming, where my inquiry sought to make visible through an aesthetic arrangement of the inside and outside, as a means of prompting consideration of how the foods we consume might contribute to cultivating particular states of mental health. It seems that across the anecdotal, experimental alternative and scholarly excerpts I drew from for this inquiry, consumption of particular foods emerged as the common catalyst for disjunction between past choices and states of mental health, and possible futures in which different choices might constitute new states of wellbeing.

Item Details

Item Type:Representation of Original Art
Keywords:a/r/tography, arts based research
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Visual arts
Research Field:Fine arts
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:MacDonald, AJ (Dr Abbey MacDonald)
ID Code:122802
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-11-29
Last Modified:2017-12-15
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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