Atlas of My Experience

The Atlas of My Experience: Installation

Artist Susan J. York comes to terms with her experience of cancer through her installation: Atlas of My Experience, Cancer and the Loss of Motherhood.
Work in Progress on Atlas of My Experience... at Brown Dog Ink studio.

Walk around and look at some of the details of the Atlas installation on the video below. The video is age restricted as the figure is clothed only in paint and YouTube has restrictions regarding nudity. 

The installation The Atlas of My Experience is a very personal piece. The Atlas installation mapped what happened to my body through the experience of cancer. The image below left is a woman experiencing the smell of the Atlas from the rear, after being drawn in by the lit glass heart that glows from within holding two floating babies inside. 

I paired sculpture with written essays, memoir and poems about what had happened to me. The ovarian cancer the tumor was the size of a wine bottle on my left side so it’s removal and the subsequent treatments effected my entire body. Each tile on the artwork’s body refers to a short piece of writing in the accompanying mounted book. These were color coded and duplicated so that the viewer could remove an essay, read it and return it to the book with relative ease. You can walk around and experience this piece through the video below, however it is restricted due to the nudity of the figure. 

Atlas of My Experience... installed for Handwriting on the Wall: Experiences with Cancer told through Art, Memoir & Poetry at the Arts Society of Kingston, 2018

Table of Contents of the Atlas of My Experience

Each tile on the mannequin corresponds to a written piece listed below. The tiles and binder clips are color coded and three copies were provided for patrons to remove read and replace.

  • My Atlas, My Body
  • Blood, Bone and Breath
  • So Very Dry, I AM Origami
  • The End of the World
  • Blessings and the Flag of Fear
  • A Matter of Heart
  • The Incision
  • Riding the L Train
  • The Neurons Aren’t Connecting
  • O is for Oils
  • Reiki and Reflexology
  • How Many Sticks Today
  • Meeting the Tumor
  • It’s Just Hair
  • What Shall I Wear to be Buried In? 

Details from the Atlas in Progress