Anna Farley by Becky Warnock

Review: Anna Farley, In Focus

By Anja Hasselbeck

In Focus, Phoenix Art Space Brighton, 19 October – 3 November 2019

Artist Anna Farley identifies as a neurodiverse, autistic adult. Her exhibition “In Focus” is a response to the UK’s disability benefit system. In order to receive money for the support and help she needs to go about her daily life, she has to fill out a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) form. As she herself isn’t able to answer the form’s questions, her mother has to do it on her behalf.

Her work consists of a table full of infinity fidget cubes, showing situations throughout her day where her autism may be visible to others. They were captured by a GoPro camera and demonstrate the difficulties she faces. They are an attempt to answer the PIP form’s questions and make her condition something visible and tangible.

Anna Farley by Becky Warnock

Image © Becky Warnock

What was striking to see, was how much her life is affected by her autism. Looking at the different situations displayed on the infinity cubes it becomes clear that it is impossible to properly lay out all the aspects of her condition and the assistance she needs through a standardized form only, especially after reading through the PIP questions on some of the infinity cubes. It makes you understand how frustrating it must feel, having to fight for something that is vital to you. 

Anna Farley

Image © Anna Farley

I particularly enjoyed the invitation to interact with the work, unlike other exhibitions the audience are invited to touch and alter the cubes, in doing this you reveal more of the artwork and the artists experiences. By interacting with the work in this way I felt a sense of what the artist might experience in particular being encouraged to ‘fidget’ with the items as a way of relaxing and releasing stress and tension. The invitation to ‘fidget’ felt like a bridge between myself and the artist. 

Anja Hasselbeck

Photoworks and Project Art Works have commissioned Anna Farley for In Focus, the commission is part of EXPLORERS, a three-year programme led nationally and internationally by Project Art Works.

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Posted on November 7, 2019
Categories: O N C A Diaries

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