INTER/her is a collaboration under the Artistic Direction of Camille Baker with Kat Austen, Maf’j Alvarez, Bushra Burge and Sarah Büttner.
The INTER/her project is an immersive installation and virtual experience. It was created to open up the conversation about phenomena experienced by women in their late 30’s (sometimes earlier) their 40’s, and sometimes after menopause. Working in consultation with a gynaecologist, the project features interviews with a number of women telling their stories.
INTER/her has a focus on female reproductive diseases explored through a feminist lens; as personal exploration, as a conversation starter, to raise greater public awareness and encourage community building.
Camille chose to create an immersive multimedia artwork which focussed on both the post-reproductive diseases and the pain that women – mostly older women – experience.
Her project encompasses endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, ovarian and other cysts, cervical, ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers, and the lack of clear medical information and support faced by this overlooked segment of society.
Explored themes include: Issues of female identity, self-love, body image, loss of body parts, pain, disease, cancer, lack of reliable information, male-dominated medical institutions, sexuality, body betrayal, ailments, disease and tumours, which represent negative festering of pain and anger.
The journey contrasts thoughts of self-care with the growth of disease, and the inevitable feelings of mortality.
Visitors begin their experience by being dressed with a haptic corset by a guide, then fitted with a VR headset before crawling through the vaginal-style opening into the tent.
The small dome tent space is furnished similarly to the virtual starting space in order to assist orientation. It was created for no more than three seated people at any one time, positioned in low-level bean bag chairs.
Each participant is fitted with a bespoke, specially-designed wearable garment, provisionally called the Haptic Corset.
Adjustable for all sizes – unlike its historical precendents – the Haptic Corset is embedded with vibration motors located in different areas around the abdomen of the wearer.
These motors vibrate with different patterns and intensities depending upon which story they are triggered by, accompanied by the animated objects and stories experienced within the VR journey.
These recordings were edited into a layered 3D audio soundscape; voices recounting their own unique journeys, gradually building an extremely personal, emotional, and possibly haunting experience.
Along with these stories, the soundscape includes voiced-over excerpts from the following books:
“Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Perez, exploring the way in which Western healthcare systems frequently fail to diagnose or support women in pain and disease.
“WOMAN: An Intimate Geography” by Natalie Angier looks at the biology dimension, exploring concerns of mortality, but also a survivalist sense to cleanse the body, to heal it; positioning the physical body as a site to explore psychological issues of womanhood and the sense of self. Exploring the body – vagina, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bleeding, pain and endometriosis, which in some cases can invade all over the abdominal cavity.
Artistic Director: Camille Baker
Interaction Designer: Maf’j Alvarez
Wearables / Fashion Designer: Bushra Burge
Composer & Sound Design: Kat Austen
Tiltbrush & Concept Designer: Sarah Büttner
Haptic Corset Electronics: Paul Hayes
Consultant Technical Advisor: Andy Baker
PR + Communication: Binita Walia
University For The Creative Arts, Access Space Network, New Malden Studios, Centre Neptune.