S.O.W. (SHOCK OF WOMAN)
S.O.W. is a sculptural representation of a pregnant woman/pig strapped down for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), aka shock treatment. First used in the 1930s as a means of subduing pigs for slaughter and more rampantly used on women, this treatment is both profoundly humiliating and barbaric: twin elements describing methods of physical and psychological torture. Inviting viewers to witness the procedure, its sensor driven flickering fluorescent lights and bizarre noises, the piece mimics my detachment from self - a dissociation through trauma, where the ‘cure’ is much worse than the disease. It is my contention that the treatment aggravated my difficulties, deepened my isolation and compounded my fears, further exposing my vulnerability.
While psychiatrists claim modern Electroshock is less brutal than it was in the past when patients used to break bones from the violent convulsions it triggered, the voltage and amperage in ECT is in fact higher than it used to be. The addition of a muscle relaxant makes it appear less brutal. But it's not. How can it be that this medical treatment is still practised when it has been banned as a form of torture?