&#39;ATHLETE&#39; , Mikela J. Michael, from the exhibition &#39;FIERCE&#39;.&nbsp;</p>

'ATHLETE' , Mikela J. Michael, from the exhibition 'FIERCE'. 


My art practice is rooted in photography, lens-based and computer-generated video projections, and has included performance and interactive softwares since 2002.

Some of my photo-based projects have included a process that I now call ‘therapeutic interpretive biographies’, whereby the participant undergoes rigorous self-examination in the studio, a process which may include a cathartic experience of psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotion, resulting in the creation of work.

Therapeutic Interpretive Biographies are a hybrid of conceptual art, portraiture and performance.

Memories of past issues, current challenges or future hopes are examined using pen and paper & by speaking out loud. Non-professional volunteer facilitators (fellow artists) can be included in the process via online chat software. Mental, emotional and physical responses that arise are externalized into conceptual photographs, self-portraits, video projections, interactive installations and performance.

Download a pdf of an artist talk on this topic given by jamie at the Museum of Anthropology in 2010. (Contact jamie for the document password)

Some previous related projects:

I.V.Y. & me Reflection on former versus current identity. A photography performance with digital drawing and online questionnaire to friends, family & colleagues.

I SEE THE FEAR A photographic and short film exploration of the seclusion of painter Joe Average, (27 year survivor of AIDS).

FIERCE A photographic exposé of Mikela J. Mikeal’s hermaphrodism behind her public career as a female fashion model.

http://vimeo.com/jamiegriffiths/therapeuticbiography  Video Excerpts

The work involves processes similar to that required for conceptual art, where the idea contained within the artwork is considered more important than the art object itself. Therapeutic biography introduces cathartic experience into the mix, focusing on the process of self-examination, as well as the ideas that arise from it. Presenting ideas that are mediated through a first person narrative, it can perhaps be described (borrowing a religious term) as a partially ‘gnostic’ process, with understanding gained by direct experience, as well as by thought.

Both biography and auto-biography deliver images from a person's inner world to the public sphere, while pointing the viewer towards universal stories. The personal impact of the creation process is witnessed, but the public are also asked to de-code the artist’s experience beyond the personal story, by deciphering meaning pertaining to the broader public realm, similar to the way that ancient religious texts used mythos (mythic storytelling) to disseminate coded tales of cultural value.

A new auto-biographical project is underway, begun in April 2012: Working title ‘COLONIAL’  exploring the topics of
- belonging
- race
- colonialism
- emigration/immigration

In 'COLONIAL' therapeutic auto-biography is used to create work examining the sense of belonging versus exclusion as both a white British immigrant to Canada and queer artist. Within the broader historical context of British Imperialism, I examine the idea that contemporary emigration from the empirical 'centre' (London) represents a form of neo-colonialism.