‘Protection’ is a video portrait of a woman named Elena who falls asleep in stressful situations as a coping mechanism. The audio is a looped clip from a 1993 documentary ‘Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories’ where a woman named Gretchen has developed these other personalities to deal with her abuse, which she herself does not remember. When asked by her therapist to confront the trauma, Gretchen disappears and another personality comes forward. To counter this defense, her therapist films one of the other personalities recounting the abuse, then asks Gretchen to watch the footage with him. With her normal coping strategy removed, Gretchen repeatedly loses consciousness, and her therapist tells her to “stay connected here.” The film seeks to ask questions about what forms of coping, self-defense, and self-protection are considered acceptable, by whom, and for whom. It has been shown at the ICA, Jerwood Space, Wellcome Collection, and the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius.
Photograph by Hydar Dewachi