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Tapeworm Ex-Communication

Daria Ivans

​​The project (video and AR filter) came about by coincidence when Shazam displayed the “15 Most Dangerous Trees You Should Never Touch” video under Meredith Monk’s track “Do You Be?” from the album “Key” (1971). Meredith's intermittent and panting vocals and shots of long white worms being taken out of a split tree overlapped and were reflected in memories of vague desires. Since my sixth grade biology textbook, I have been attracted to tapeworms, unable to define the complex emotion of disgust and fascination that they evoked in me. They, filling one's body, resembling lychee fruit, penetrate the voids and glide through the inaccessible spaces. This coexistence kills one of the agents sharing the body. The patterns that worms weave inside the human body are deadly, just as the life cycle of the worm and its offspring is interrupted by antiparasitic drugs. However, besides the meaning of the parasite as a function (to live at the expense of another), the status of the parasite as a subject in a relationship must be taken into account. Ancient Greek’s πᾰράσῑτος (from παρά (pará, “beside”) +‎ σῖτος (sîtos, “wheat, corn”)) is the “one who eats at the table of another, and repays him with flattery and buffoonery” (Liddell & Scott, 1940). So there is a place for communication in these relationships, that is now often considered one-sided. With those who can be closer than close, but still “para” (beyond and deviating). My video and AR filter are showing this impossible and sick desire of communication with others who are not exactly the others as sharing one body.

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