Skip to content
Arnolfini - est 1961

Excoriate (2019), explores embodied experiences of chronic illness and attempts to reclaim bodily autonomy from biomedical institutions, while considering different processes of healing. Each Saturday, the Still I Rise screening programme shares a work of video art or film that profiles themes of feminisms, gender, and resistance through the moving image.

The film includes footage shot at the Comfrey Project in Gateshead – a community garden and centre that offers horticultural therapy for refugees and people seeking asylum, and a DIY biohacking lab with queer performance collective Quimera Rosa. Other footage includes drawings onto the artist’s skin, used medical ephemera, and methods for overcoming self-harming behaviours, including compulsive skin picking i.e. Dermatillomania or Excoriation Disorder. The soundtrack is composed of binaural beats including beta and theta waves, used to treat anxiety and trauma and sleep disorders through ‘neuroacoustics’.

Presented by Arnolfini as part of the Still I Rise expanded programme.

Sophie Hoyle is an artist and writer whose practice explores an intersectional approach to post-colonial, queer, feminist, anti-psychiatry and disability issues. Their work looks at the relation of the personal to (and as) political, individual and collective anxieties, and how alliances can be formed where different kinds of inequality and marginalisation intersect. They relate personal experiences of being queer, non-binary and part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) diaspora to wider forms of structural violence. From lived experience of psychiatric conditions and trauma, or PTSD, they began to explore the history of biomedical technologies rooted in state and military surveillance and control.

Excoriate (2019), was originally developed as a multi-channel video installation during the 2019 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Residency, hosted by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead in collaboration with Shape Arts, and presented as part of the Shortlist Exhibition at BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Screening in Arnolfini’s Dark Studio, Level 2.

Content Warning: This video includes footage of small amount of blood and skin-picking.