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Epi Demos, Epi Industria

My work often takes up pathographies—illness narratives—which are not always autobiographical in nature. One example of this is the work Epi Demos, Epi Industria, which connects the health of the people to the health of industry. The title translates From the Greek "epi-", "upon" + "demos", "people or population" = "epidemos" = "upon the population." Industria is industry, suggesting that what falls upon the people falls upon industry. The work was created for a show that explored the history of the Welland Canal in Ontario, which is a 43.5 km shipping path between Lake Ontario and Erie with a 326 ft elevation change. It was built during the Spanish flu, which killed the working-aged population, devastating much of the workforce on the canal at the time. 

The work features a crank that mechanized the rising and lowering of ceramic teeth. The teeth, tied to red thread, create a visceral memory of the biological and the body. When I was thinking about how I would connect to the industrial history of this space, I was deeply invested in finding those moments where the biological reality and casualty of progress narratives would be brought to the foreground. I think that holding a lens up to this pandemic allowed me to do that. 

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