Home » For and about students » Techne Community » Techne Students list » TECHNE Students 2017-18 » Ilona Sagar
AHRC Techne funded doctoral student
Active bodies difficult objects: The language of health and wellbeing in a new bio-political era
Year of enrolment: 2017
Supervisor: Dr Aura Satz
The way we understand health and labour has changed. Device culture has now made the human body evermore remote and co-dependent on technology. In recent times, new terms such as the 'quantified self' highlight the increasing neurosis associated with our individual wellness. The phrase, coined by Wired Magazine editor, Gary Wolfe, refers to the use of portable technology to obsessively monitor and measure bodily activity such as sleeping, running and eating. Such wearable devices are data-rich, always on and are profitable forms of self-surveillance. Perversely, the obsession with personal monitoring and wellness comes at a time when our relationship to public welfare and benefits is unhinging. There is a growing distrust of the common good that marks a slow erosion of shared public welfare. Whilst we become slowly more focused on our individual, internal narratives and mental wellbeing, our relationship to the public domain becomes increasingly distant.Working with moving-image, performance, text and publication, I propose to develop a multifaceted body of research work, expressing the complex and changing landscape of public health and the social shift away from a group mind-set to a more egocentric, user-focused, technology-infused understanding of wellness. I have a thriving multi disciplinary practice that explores the link between language, surface, technologies and the body through our increasingly mediated encounters in social, political and experiential space. Utilising contextual research, my practice responds to the social and historic frameworks found in the public and private spaces we inhabit.This ambitious and timely body of work will be the result of research and experimental collaboration with acclaimed neurologists, Prof. Paul Fletcher, Dr. Felicity Thomas, Dr. Stephen Hicks, SPHERE at Bristol University, Royal Holloway and Kingston Universities. In addition I have permission to use archives of the Wellcome Trust, Science Museum Dana Centre, BFI and RIBA some of whom are core partners of the TECHNE and a key reason for my application.