In her last work “Disease as an Aesthetic Project,” Romanian artist Alina Popa discusses her ongoing love-hate relationship with the monster transforming her body and life, the performative nature of medicine and how we are taught to treat our body as an object.
While she wrote about the objectified, diseased body, her observations chimed with my objectified, transsexual body.
Realization: I have never trusted my body and its responses. We are taught so by education. Fever needs to be kept at bay, symptoms have to be read by specialists, you don’t own your body, it is like a foreign coat you have to take care of and beware of it, look for signs, gather evidence. You are outside of your body, you analyze it scientifically but what does this mean. It means that you are placing it in the scripts written by strangers who are afraid of the wonder of reality and want to restrict its vastness to a few predictable scenarios.
She also offered a cri de cour on learning to accept our bodies, embrace how strange they are to us.
The body is real but what we think about it is fiction. Medical views are the fiction imposed on us by modernity and capitalism. This is a consensus fiction. How you regard the body, how you name, determines how you act upon it and also how it acts back. . . . The body is as alien as the world. And we have to embrace its strangeness.
Her last writing was initially shared through social media as a Google document. The document also contains a link to dozens of drawings by Popa, which she drew with her eyes closed, notebook on the chest.