paper tape: insensitive

Hunkered down, nerve-numb,
in the carnal hut,
the cave of self,
while outside a storm
Huddled there,
rubbing together
white sticks of
your own ribs,
praying for sparks
in that dark
where tinder is heart,
where tender is not.

—Gregory Orr, “Trauma (Storm)”

valeveil presents an online paper tape exhibition including highlighted international artists in residency at Tomma Rum located in Malmberget/Gällivare, Sweden. They were invited to either work alone or collaborate as a creative response to this documented site-specific phenomenon:

In the world, a small number of individuals are born with Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP); it is a rare inherited disorder of the nervous system which prevents the sensation of pain, heat, cold or any real nerve-related sensations. Yet, nearly 40 cases of CIP have been reported in the Gällivare Municipality: an unusually high percentage.

What would it be like if you couldn’t feel anything physical as a living person? What if you could one day feel after not feeling anything at all, or vice versa? Where is real pain located? Where does one sensation end and another begin? Does physical pain directly or indirectly correlate with other forms of pain (i.e., mental, social, personal, psycho-sexual)? The world is currently littered with options to relieve one’s self of discomfort: anti-depressants, barbiturates, legal vs. illegal substances, therapeutic and cathartic activities meant to alleviate mild to intense pain. Yet, even when provided with these options, people still find themselves victimized by one pain or another.

A selection of incoming artists created new work which addressed, questioned or investigated the boundaries and definitions of ‘pain’ as it currently exists and reveals itself in its many shapes, forms and functions. All mediums were considered, but work had to be newly created while on site during their Tomma Rum residency in the Gällivare Municipality.

» Lessons in Feeling by Emilia Bergmark
» Feral by Patrik Johansson & Eyal Shachar
» Implosion Explosion by Leonela Lilja & Ylva Söderström
» Looking for Bird Overlooking Depth by Carl-Johan Rosén
» [Work in Progress] by Daniel Torarp

Image: Dundret. Photo by Jacquelyn Davis