In my discussions and meetings with my mentor Greer Muldowney, I explored my original semester plan to continue working with the political landscape–specifically the tidal marsh–and found the subject significantly less interesting than I had anticipated. Exploring the politics and cultural weight of the tidal marsh landscape was interesting, but I realized that the project didn’t have legs for me. I wasn’t going to be able to throw myself into the research or the work for very long, and I don’t think the work would have been any good in the end.
In discussions with Greer, I realized that what did interest me was looking at the same aspects (politics, economics, cultural and historic attitudes, institutional power, as well as personal) of another topic: addiction treatment and recovery. There is a lot happening around this issue in Massachusetts at this time, and I have a personal connection and established working relationships with people close to this subject, so I can immediately jump into this work without delay. In fact I already have.
One obvious pitfall I hope to avoid is falling into cliché. There is great potential for this; although the same held true for my idea to work in the landscape. I will take my time to identify effective subjects so that the “late start” (having less time to do this work) will be minimized.
For the academic component, I will be researching and writing papers on these topics. I will start by looking at artists who have looked at addiction and treatment, but primarily I will be researching other aspects of this: economics, politics, etc. My goal is to present all of the historical and contemporary social policy and an overview of the tide of cultural feelings, and contrast that with the visual. I will look at the work that has been done with addiction and treatment by artists historically, as well as the work being done contemporarily in an attempt to establish where my work will fit in with the discourse.