Esme Macleod attends Project Ability’s ReConnect programme.
Esme’s artistic practice began in an attempt to regain the ability to write after a series of major operations. In order to execute her project, Macleod had to regain control of this lost ability and, by using her non-dominant hand, created a series of drypoint plates in reverse resulting in text works in an overwrought presentational style exploring the limitations of the body.
“In May 2008, I was rushed to hospital and found to have abscesses in my brain; these had to be operated on immediately. I do not recall much of the following months until my rehab began around September 2008. This work marks something of my recovery, from the Phlegm (the very first symptom) and follows through. I was found to have Hydrocephalus (a build up of fluid in the ventricles of my brain) and abscesses at the cerebellum and cerebral cortex. It was/is a long journey back to ‘health’ and this work reflects a small piece of this: the time, the total lack of control, the frustration. When I regained consciousness I had lost many of my motor skills – writing, walking, speaking – these all had to be relearned.
In dry-point, the process demands that for a word to be read from left to right it must first be scratched into an aluminium plate with a sharp tool backwards – from right to left. This process mirrors the complete lack of control I felt when I began writing again with my dominant left hand. The very fine etching tool, held in my weaker right hand, seemed to take on a life of its own as it came into contact with the aluminium plate, reminding me of a few months before as I tried to control the pen I held in my left hand to write what my brain was telling it to on the paper. As you can see, sometimes it listened and sometimes it didn’t.”
Esme Macleod, September 2010