Artist / Makes video, sculptural, and performance works foregrounding cultural practices, medical procedures, and physical as well as psychological violence
Lives in London, UK
The Needle and the Larynx, 2016
In her works, Marianna Simnett creates physically palpable portrayals of procedures intruding into the integrity of the body, often to the extent that they become unbearable to watch. Many of her videos evolve around violence exerted by procedures and instruments of the medico-pharmaceutical apparatus on bodies, especially female ones, as well as close proximity to animals culturally considered as abject, such as cockroaches. For her video The Needle and the Larynx, Simnett had Botox injected into her cricothyroid muscle, an organ in the throat associated with breathing and producing vocal sounds. As children go through puberty, the larynx grows larger and thicker in both boys and girls. In male adolescents the changes are more dramatic, corresponding to growing levels of testosterone in the body and often resulting in uncontrollable squeaking sounds when speaking. Deep voices are commonly associated with masculinity and physical strength. With the injection of neurotoxins into her larynx, Simnett intended to lower her own voice. Yet rather than resulting in a deeper tonality, the intervention relaxed her throat to the extent that she had difficulty breathing.
Courtesy the artist and Serpentine Galleries, London