A practice-based analysis of embodied narratives connected to self-injury
Research Project Summary:
Prolonged, direct exposure to traumatising interactions leads to an embodiment of a direct or inferred message from the trauma. The earlier the trauma, the more this message from a person’s environment becomes an instinctual truth, which shapes their reality. In Solomons’ research, she compares and contrasts communal events of violence, such as war, with individual experiences of abuse, like domestic violence. Through her art practice, she assesses how metaphors can generate empathic knowledge about internalised messages behind self-injurious coping behaviours. One of Solomons’ goals is to help bridge the gap between cultural misconceptions about self-injury and why they are utilised.
By borrowing from behavioural science-based experiential therapies, Solomons’ aim is to illustrate and investigate how uncontrollable emotional detachment and flooding inform a person’s life through reactivity, instead of choice. Her research acknowledges, but does not directly connect with, artists who concentrate on violence on the body, such as Ron Athey, Gina Pane, or Franko B. In contrast, third person witnessing of the creation of her artistic research is actively withheld. Solomons critically assesses how the regulation of bodily fluids can be used to cope with continual exposure to familial trauma.
Erin Solomons is an artist, tutor, and practice-based research candidate. After finishing her BA in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College, Solomons pursued a MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art. Throughout the duration of her art practice, Solomons has continually drawn from various psychoanalytic theories, and her experiences to inform how she investigates abusive bodily trauma. Specifically, she uses photography as a base to assess visceral memories of childhood neglect.
At the end of her Masters degree, Solomons began accumulating resources about monuments to communal trauma, such as war. This led to the American Civil War becoming one of her key areas of interest. Through a behavioural scientific approach, she analyzes how violence on the human body can express and regulate overwhelming feelings linked to trauma.
She has won the Swansea College of Art book prize (2017) and Magnum Photo Graduate Award (2016), and received the Wood Institute travel grant (2016) in addition to other awards and selections. Solomons has presented her academic research at the University of Cambridge (2017), the Mütter Museum (2016), and University College London (2016) amongst other places and events centred on science and fine art as research.