Hangover Reading Club #12 - Long-covid and the Medical Industrial Complex

The next edition of Trafó Gallery's Hangover Reading Club will be held from 11.30 am (CEST) on 8 October 2022 (Saturday). The reading session, realized in the frameworks of the event series Support Structures will be lead by artist Rowena Harris.

"The Medical Industrial Complex is an enormous system with tentacles…Its roots run deep and its history and present are connected to everything including eugenics, capitalism, colonization, slavery, immigration, war, prisons, and reproductive oppression. It is not just a major piece of the history of ableism, but all systems of oppression." - Mia Mingus, Medical Industrial Complex Visual, 2015

"On the one hand, people with muscular dystrophy resist the notion of body-mind trouble as it is repeatedly foisted on them, and on the other hand, people with Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) work overtime to have their body-mind trouble acknowledged while doctors and the media ignore and trivialise it. These two dynamics appear to be opposites, but actually they converge, pivoting on the ways the medical-industrial complex wields authority and dismisses what we know about our own visceral experiences." - Eli Clare, Brilliant imperfection, 2017

Long-covid is the latest in a long line of conditions where people have struggled to be believed and have experienced medical gaslighting. Long-covid arrives alongside ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, chronic lyme, endometriosis and others, and where prejudice, power and privilege in medical industrial complex, has stood in the way of the development of knowledge that may help. Harris has been developing a reading practice that works to situate and build context for the emerging condition long-covid within existing feminist disability and crip literature and theory. The main text for this session is Structure of Cure - a chapter from the 2017 book Brilliant imperfection by Eli Clare, which explores the way race, class, gender, sexuality and disability are intertwined within the ideologies of ‘cure’, and as these curative ideologies direct the medical industrial complex. A collection of readings related to medical gaslighting and long-covid are offered alongside. Harris will bring these into dialogue to offer a way of thinking about long-covid in relation to the structure of cure, before an open discussion to explore further resonances and affinities together.

Rowena Harris (they/she) b. Norfolk 1985, is an artist based in Birmingham, UK. Through moving image and CGI, sculpture and installation, writing and discussion they explore bio-cultural and socio-medical dynamics that flow through and affect human bodies differently. Informed by crip theory and knowledge from their experiences with long-covid and ME/CFS, their work is increasingly concerned with invisible disability and structures of ableism, as well as vectors of power within societal factors that shape how we feel, understand and make sense of our own bodies. 

They are currently completing their CHASE (AHRC) funded, practice-based PhD candidate in the Art Department, Goldsmiths College, they hold an MFA also from Goldsmiths (2010), a BA Fine Art from Falmouth University (2008). Recent awards and residencies include the DYCP Arts Council England; SPACE residency (UK); Rupert Residency (LT); Sainsbury’s scholarship The British School at Rome (IT). They have had recent solo exhibitions with Las Palmas (PT); The Gallery Apart, (IT); Object A; Coleman Projects (UK). And group: Trafó Gallery (HU); Culturegest, Fidelidade Art Porto (PT); ANGL Collective, Copperfield Gallery, Space In Between, Tenderpixel, The Bluecoat, Bloc Projects, Flat Time House (UK), Agnes Varis Centre, (NY, USA); Fondazione Memmo, Artissima, Galleria D’Arte Contemporanea O.Licini, (IT).

The reading session will take place online through Zoom in English. Please register by sending a mail to gallery@trafo.huThere will be a maximum of 15 registrations for the reading session, selected on a first come first serve basis. Extracts from the texts and a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants. In joining the session, it is recommended, but not essential, to read the main text Structure of Cure as well the other suggested readings. Although the different reading sessions of Hangover Reading Club are related, it is not necessary to attend all sessions, the events are drop-in. Participation is free, all are welcome!

The audio (not video) of the session will be recorded, so a transcript can be made after the session, available on request. The zoom session will be closed captioned.

The reading session is part of the event series entitled Support Structures, curated by Flóra Gadó and Judit Szalipszki, related to the first two, thematically interrelated exhibitions of the 2022/23 season, exploring strategies and coping mechanisms associated with different forms of care.  Ranging from self-care to collective healing processes, the series not only reflects on the paradigm shift in the fields of illness, healing and care, which has become even more relevant since the Covid19 pandemic, but also seeks to present possible alternatives to alleviate the crisis.

More info
Trafó Gallery's Hangover Reading Club series
Box Office opening hours:
  • Main hall performance days: 5 pm - 10 pm
  • studio and club performance days: 5 pm - 8:30 pm
  • other days: 5pm - 8 pm
Trafó Gallery opening hours:
  • Performance days: 4-10pm.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 4pm-7pm.
  • Closed on Mondays.
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