Loupette and the Moon + Delirious
For the Prospectus, filmmaker and visual/performance artist Nancy Andrews has created a comic book, Loupette and the Moon, featuring the story of a girl with hypertrichosis, a condition of more-than-normal body hair growth, or, as Nancy puts it, a tale of “genetics and destiny.” She also has contributed new work, much of it in the form of in-person, collaborative public presentations, related to her Delirious series of large-scale drawings, based on her two-week stay in an intensive care unit in 2006.
About this latter experience and the art work it inspired, Nancy writes:
“I was recovering from unusually extreme surgeries with some complications, and so my experience was probably worse than 90% of people that spend time in the intensive care unit….The ICU is a “perfect storm” for delirium, and I believe that as new protocols are put into place this may be diminished, but due to the severity of the medical conditions that land people in the ICU, delirium and trauma will not be eradicated. Therefore, my mission is to help patients, family members and caregivers to identify Post-ICU conditions and get help for these when they occur— Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, cognitive problems and the like. And, to help the nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists and psychiatrists in the ICU, with help of patients’ loved ones, notice the patients’ delirium, take it seriously, and do what they can to alleviate it.”
As part of this help for ICU patients and concerned others, Nancy has created an Art and Science of Delirium blog about ICU-related issues. In 2012 and 2013, with AIC’s assistance, she also made six appearances related to her Prospectus projects in Massachusetts, Maine and Canada:
“Balagan Film Series Screening + Discussion: Delirious.” Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA, May 8, 2012 (Nancy showed her films, On a Phantom Limb and Behind the Eyes Are the Ears, followed by a panel discussion involving her; Dr. Michael Belkin, Division of Vascular Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Dr. Samata Sharma, a clinical fellow in psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center).
“Portland Film Screening: Delirious.” St. Lawrence Arts, Portland, ME, May 9, 2012 (the same two films were shown, followed by a panel discussion involving Nancy, Dr. Anne Hallward, a psychiatrist and member of Safe Space Radio in Portland; and Lizz Sinclair of the Maine Humanities Council).
“Artists in Context: Case Study, Delirious.” College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, May 10, 2012 (the conversation included Nancy Andrews, a faculty member at the college; Jay Friedlander, the college’s Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business; student Robin Owings; and moderator Marie Cieri, co-director of AIC).
“Loupette and the Moon: A Graphic Pathography of Genetics, Destiny and Trauma.” Comics and Medicine: Navigating the Margins conference, Toronto, July 22-24, 2012. Nancy’s talk and slide show questioned the ways that drawn narratives enter into dialogue with medical research, patient education and public awareness of health and medical issues.
“The Problem with ‘Normal’: Loupette and the Moon.” College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, October 3, 2012. A conversation between Nancy Andrews and Walter M. Robinson, M.D., MPH Distinguished Scholar at the Center for Applied Ethics of the Education Development Center. Dr. Robinson also wrote an essay published in Nancy’s comic entitled “Loupette and the Tyranny of the Average.”
“Case Study/Panel Presentation on Art and Medicine.” Artists in Context’s National Conference, Connected and Consequential: Artists and the Future, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 7, 2013 (besides Nancy, panelists were Michele Balas, Ph.D, Distinguished Scientist and Lead Investigator, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D, Program Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program for Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative; once again, Samata Sharma; and Donna McNeil, Arts Policy and Program Director, Maine Arts Commission, panel moderator). Click here to watch a video documenting that session.
As evidenced in this list, a notable aspect of Nancy’s Prospectus work is that, with AIC’s assistance, she has worked with teams of people from other disciplines — doctors and public health professionals in Maine, Boston, Baltimore and Nebraska – to gain scientific and social knowledge about PTSD and to spread the hybrid art/science effects of her Prospectus projects to audiences beyond those for the arts.
Some images from the Loupette comic:
Here is a sampling of large-scale drawings from the Delirious series:
Nancy Andrews lives on the coast of Maine, where she makes films, drawings, props and objects. She works in hybrid forms, combining storytelling, documentary, animation, puppetry and research. Her characters and narratives are synthesized from various sources, including history, movies, popular educational materials and autobiography. She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, LEF New England Moving Image Fund, Illinois State Arts Council, The Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art and National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been presented by the Museum of Modern Art, Pacific Film Archive, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Jerusalem Film Festival, Flaherty Seminar, Nova Cinema Bioscoop and Taiwan International Animation Festival, among others. Six of her films are in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently on the faculty of the College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, where she teaches video making, animation, time-based arts and film studies.