The SCAR Project: disability aesthetics of dis-ease



Publication Details

Ehlers, N. (2015). The SCAR Project: disability aesthetics of dis-ease. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, 9 (3), 1-17.


The article explores how David Jay’s The SCAR Project might be said to represent a disability aesthetics for breast cancer—one that challenges the aesthetic field related to breast cancer and demands an ethical witnessing to the realities of the disease and its disabling effects (whether that be due to surgery, treatment, or their aftermath). It asks: how do we represent breast cancer in the aesthetic field; under what conditions can alternative images appear; how do we approach the visually signified materiality of the body that forces upon us its loss of key markers of “female flesh”; and what is the productive potential of the fact that an alternative aesthetics of breast cancer jars the viewer and compels a state of dis-ease? Ultimately, the article suggests that Jay’s work might engender what Michel Foucault named an “aesthetics of existence” that could attend to corporeal suffering, recognize death, and thus politicize the disease in new ways.

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