A Body is a Cellular Network, a Cellular Network is a Body

Ivester Contemporary is pleased to present, A Body is a Cellular Network, a Cellular Network is a Body, featuring new work completed this spring by Katy McCarthy. In this exhibition, McCarthy displays soft wax casts she has handcrafted which depict parts of her own body that have been injured or experience chronic pain. She then ships the molds to her mother, Robin, a chiropractor in California. Over Facetime, Robin conducts a remote bodywork session where she manipulates, massages, holds, and adjusts McCarthy’s waxen body parts. The process functions as both placebo and performance. The session is presented as a two-channel video installation in the gallery. 


In the lead up to making this work I was thinking about what it means to be in a long distance relationship with my mother. I also had a ceaseless two-week headache and yearned for her touch. The work came out of a place of need. I wanted to cultivate ways of being physically present while we are apart. Sending surrogate body parts to my mom was an attempt to satisfy this need. 

I’m interested in the importance of intention in healing. Different people call this different things: the placebo effect, energy work, etc. I’ve started to think about how you don’t need to understand a healing modality for it to work on your body.