In Sickness
and Study
Carolyn Lazard

February 12–March 11, 2018

Presented as part of Circuit 5: Collective Welfare, Take Care

Link coming soon to download the Circuit 5 micropublication featuring project descriptions, a curatorial statement by Letters & Handshakes, artist biographies, and full colour illustrations throughout.


Carolyn Lazard, Meeting the Universe Halfway (detail), 2017.
From the series In Sickness and Study, 2015–ongoing. Courtesy the artist and Blackwood Gallery.
Project Description

Carolyn Lazard
In Sickness and Study, 2017

In 2015, Carolyn Lieba François-Lazard began documenting biweekly intravenous iron infusions for the treatment of her autoimmune disorders in selfies posted on her Instagram account, c_lion666, for a project she calls In Sickness and Study. [1] Each image in her site-specific installation on social media features her arm penetrated by a needle that connects a plastic tube filled with an infusion of iron to a machine out of her camera phone’s view. With her hand, she presents the front cover of the book she is reading to her Instagram followers. Lazard brings the chronically ill body into public view with an acknowledgment that sick, disabled, and debilitated bodies are often kept out of sight by social and institutional codes that deem illness a private and personal matter, segregating them from the general public even when the disease or debility are non-communicable. Lazard’s project emphasises how the isolation of the sick body is a type of quarantining and containment. In the hospital setting, the plastic tubing that connects the interiority of Lazard’s body to the IV apparatus provides her with medicine, but also potentially blood, hydration, or liquid nourishment. The IV apparatus also complicates her movement, if not physically restraining her body—arguably already in a state of restricted mobility.

Lazard’s work points to both her dependency on and entanglement with the medical industry. Through the technological link to friends and outside communities on Instagram, she counters isolation by moving towards other relationships of dependency that allow her to endure and move through this entanglement. The IV extends outside of the frame of her photos into a virtual community of other disabled people with whom Lazard is in study, while the books she documents and reads provide access to other forms of contact. In Sickness and Study includes the books Lazard documents in her Instagram posts along with the information and resources she shares with The Canaries, a network of women and femme artists living with chronic illnesses, who meet in person and online to discuss their experiences navigating the medical-industrial complex; to consider its structural effects on women, femmes, and people of colour; and to support one another in self-advocacy, accessing resources, researching proposed treatments, and pursuing various forms of holistic healing. In Sickness and Study moves towards a speculative interdependence that allows Lazard to perform actions outside the physical boundaries of her own location. Lazard enacts a means of mobility from a position of restricted movement.

 

For the Collective Welfare circuit, the Blackwood commissioned three new images in Lazard’s In Sickness and Study series. The books featured in these photographs are Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (2007), Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974), and Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (2013). In addition to being featured in this publication, these three works will circulate via Lazard’s Instagram account and will appear on the Blackwood Gallery’s billboard-sized lightbox on the exterior of the William Davis Building on the University of Toronto Mississauga campus.

NOTES
[1] This text is a revised excerpt of Risa Puleo’s essay, “Mobility and Mobilisation,” in What Now? On Future Identities, eds. Anne Barlow and Kristen Chappa (London: Black Dog Publishing, forthcoming 2018).

 


Artist Biography

Carolyn Lazard is an artist working in video, performance, and text. Her work engages collective practice to address the ecology of care, dependency, and visibility. Lazard has presented work in various spaces including Light Industry, Cleopatra’s, Recess, Anthology Film Archives, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Slought Foundation, the New Museum, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has published writing in the Brooklyn Rail and Mousse Magazine and is currently writing an Accessibility Guide for Common Practice. She is a founding member of Canaries, a healing and arts collective of chronically ill women and femmes. Lazard holds a BA from Bard College and lives in Philadelphia where she is completing her MFA at the University of Pennsylvania.

Acknowledgments

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

 

 

The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for additional support for Collective Welfare from the Graduate Expansion Fund, Department of Visual Studies, and Women and Gender Studies (UTM).

Funding for staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Graduate Internship program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.