Skip to main content
Luxonline Home Themes Artists Work Histories Education Tours Help Search
Screen Online
Body Image
Body Politic
Gender and Sexuality
Body Image
Related Collections
IntroductionClick here to Print this Page

In mainstream filmmaking it is rare to see images of the body which deviate from preconceived ideas of 'normality'.

Physical or mental disabilities are most often presented on screen only in a negative light. Avant-garde filmmakers present the trials and triumphs of being disabled in more subtle and complex ways, often from intensely personal points of view. Perceptions of what is considered normal are challenged through tales which range for painful to humorous.

For Stephen Dwoskin, disabled by polio as a boy, his disability, and it's subsequent illness, has been the subject or backdrop to many of his films. Filtered through personal relationships and experiences, his films challenge preconceived notions of what it means to live with disability. Sandra Lahire's relationship to her body was shaped by her life-long battle against Anorexia Nervosa. The beautiful yet painful images in her film Arrows are a testament to her attempts to both overcome and come to terms with her condition. Many of Andrew Kötting's films depict his daughter Eden, who was born with a rare genetic disorder which caused cerebral vermis hypoplasia and other neurological complications. Images of Eden, found medical footage and interviews with a top neurophysiologist, combine in his film Mapping Perception to challenge our perceptions of difference.

Film and video has also been used to challenge perceptions of illness, both in relation to medical representations and personal experience. In It's Inside, Katherine Meynell and Alistair Skinner used an array of multi-media, from video projection and performance to cast medical instruments and cherries in jelly, to explore and challenge conventional notions of disease and cure. In The Pits, David Critchley worked with the doctor Liz Lee and her patient Steven to explore the experience of clinical depression and therapy, using metaphors from his own art practice as means of representing this ambiguous and often misrepresented condition.

Still from Outside In

Outside In

A visual diary of a disabled person seen from his point of view.

Still from Arrows


A combination of live action and rostrum work to communicate the experience of anorexia.

Still from Nucleus Ambiguous

Nucleus Ambiguous

Somewhere between normality and abnormality lies reality.

Still from It's Inside

It's Inside

It's Inside, takes the representation and experience of disease as its central theme.

Still from The Pits

The Pits

The subject of the tapes grew out of Steve's stories of depression.

Home Themes Artists Work Histories Education Tours Help Search