POP art, not pills!


This last November, Dr. BBBBB’s office said it would refer me to pain management. It has not done so. The options proffered by emergency rooms are opiates, valium, or lots of muscle relaxers and aspirin while I wait for a physical therapist’s assessment and treatment plan that considers this month’s diagnosis by one of my neurologist’s: Ehlers-Danlos. With the exception of last weekend’s intravenous morphine at the hospital, I have opted for aspirins since the car accidents happened in December 2013 and January 2014. For the six months I could afford acupuncture in 2014, it was the most effective, palliative intervention, without causing me pause for concern over my stomach, liver, and brain.

I anticipate cultivating support for my next letter by parade for Dr. BBBBB, and the managed health care plan of which he is a member (HealthNet), by September 1, 2015. This continued correspondence will not only carve an escape path for me in the receipt of effective palliative care in acupuncture, it will craft a model for all Medi-Cal beneficiaries to receive it. Sometimes doctors maintain no record of a writing to their address. Sometimes they do not recall its delivery at all. The United States’ Federal Government’s infrastructure in the form of registered mailings provides an assurance and record of the piece’s delivery, requiring a particular label, a declaration of the content’s value, and a fee. When such a letter could mean the difference between my persistence by dosages of drugs creating more of the problems they allay or my persistence by healing, its value is the very value of my life. The concomitant registered mailing fee for such a prized item is in excess of $50,000.

These letters to Dr. BBBBB are a device necessitated not only by:

(1) his failures to return my calls since November 2014 or

(2) my interest in drafting documents of independent legal significance--insofar as they constitute notice or an element of some federal civil right or

(3) even my interest in learning new things, like health care advocacy for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but by

(4) the sort of work required to shirk the demand I slough gracious femininity in sanguinity in order to convince him, my friends, and family that I am in fact suffering from a malady that requires medical, among other sorts of, attention.

Difficult to discern diagnoses manifest chronic pain conditions and are susceptible to dismissal through broad diagnostic categories, financial dependence, and a legally 'disabled' status tantamount to a pejorative. Sometimes this diagnosis is a mental health problem like depression, a bucket into which we cast a great many ladies to be forever medicated. We hear that if we buck up, just thought, acted a bit more practically, we could get out of there. The problem is not the ladies in the bucket. It is the bucket. This performance works at the rotting hole growing in the bottom, stages the opportunity to burst the fetid wood slats, graciously appears in the public forum most frequented--lines out the door: the local post office.

The choice to advocate for myself and for others by this example in correspondence is an exercise of my mother’s manner, a traditional practice punctuated by thank you cards, shamefully seldom honored unless drafted by the hand of a lawyer. This piece refuses that shame by its consistency in declaring the value of its contents, a guess at the value of my own life to date, $354 million, a smidge over the $99,999.99 cap, upon its registered mailing. This is the price of beginning to put the world back in balance, the effect of the writing in toppling me, and others like me, out of the bucket. The letter’s leaves, creamy yellow stationary, stamped at a high price, will waft through the channels of the United States Postal Service’s tributaries, a gift to the advocates for others similarly stockpiled in the barrels of the pharmacopeia warehouses: the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation, the Federal Medicare and Medicaid Service, and numerous other legal and health care professionals with an eye for turning my phrases to their patients’ and clients’ purposes.

Maybe we can go to the post office together.

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Re: POP art, not pills!

sdindymedia volunteer

names were removed from this post (AAAAA, BBBBB) according to SDIMC's editorial policies:

conceptual art-inspired performance piece


This is a brave and provocative conceptual art-inspired performance piece.

Political art that is also experimental can be challenging for a general audience as well as for activists. One might ask "What makes going to the post office art?" The strength of this performance is that it accurately describes the frustration of those of us who deal with pain/distress (whether physical or mental health-related depression) and have to interface with doctors, insurance companies and hospitals. Conceptual, Fluxus and performance artists often blur the distinction between art and everyday life. Yoko Ono is one of the most well-known conceptual artists.

What makes this piece "art" and more specifically "political art" (experimental political art) is that it invites the audience to participate in an action. The action is a form of resistance to an increasingly byzantine healthcare system.

The piece poses several interesting questions for Indymedia. If a healthcare provider's real name is used, could there be legal consequences? Should the artist reveal whether or not the name is real? Many conceptual artists do not make the fiction/real distinction clear.

How should this kind of work be presented in an online context? In online art exhibitions as part of a group of works? This might allow the Indymedia audience to have a deeper understanding of the context for experimental political art. This artist might expand on this piece by including it a one person exhibition (possibly in an alternative space/community gallery) or in a group show with similarly-themed work (or work by conceptually-oriented artists).

In future presentations of this piece, an artist's statement might provide more context for the non-art school trained audience and those unfamiliar with the genre. The tortured language of the piece (a combination of the discourse of law and obsession) is unnerving and powerful.

The legal community (especially the part of that community concerned with social justice and ethics) is another possible audience for this kind of work. One can only hope that healthcare providers might also form part of a potential audience.

Re: conceptual art-inspired performance piece


Thank you for the recommendations! Here's an attempt at implementing one of them: http://msrachelness.blogspot.com/


Re: conceptual art-inspired performance piece


Also, site specific art resists commodification by situating itself in the everyday rather than the retailer-like gallery spaces. Of course, community art spaces except themselves from this problem often so, resources allowing, documentation of the performance makes sense for airing in one such place. It would also be neat for IndyMedia to have in-house counsel.