Nancy Baker Cahill’s Fascinomas is multimedia installation that examines the human body’s simultaneous vulnerability and resilience in response to the elusive, subjective condition of “pain.” In medical jargon, a “fascinoma” refers to an unusual case or diagnosis. The installation, comprised of video and paintings, presents imagined invaders, growths and intra-corporeal phenomena—fascinomas—through the diverse visual languages of electron microscopy, ultrasound and prehistoric cave paintings. The viewer is able to move around and through the installation, becoming integrated into the mysterious micro (and at times macro) cosmos. Against this landscape, the viewer can consider the scale of his or her own body in relation to the often-unnerving imagery. Fascinomas explores the quiet and implied violence of things that are not of the body but in the body and are rendered with intentional ambiguity to resist specific categorization and to underscore the failure of language to describe phenomena that cannot be seen, but only felt.
Nancy Baker Cahill received an Artists' Resource for Completion Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation in support of this exhibition.