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Moving Image

Jesse May Fisher

Jesse May Fisher is an artist working primarily with moving image, photography and text. She explores the female body as a site of pathology, abjection, seduction and healing, sublimating histories of trauma and oppression through images of ecstasy and sensuality. Her practice continuously enquires into the body and it’s internal landscapes and thresholds.

Jesse lives and works in London. Her work has been published in Dazed, Hunger, Sabat Magazine, Suspiria Magazine and Aesthetica, and has been exhibited at Moving Image Artists and SISSI Club, Marseille. Jesse is a part of Artemisia, an artists’ collective whose work intersects within mythology, ritual, healing and embodied feminine knowledge.



Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Moving Image

My current work focuses on the term milk fever, a folkloric diagnosis of post-natal depression from the 1950’s. It was thought that the milk, trapped in the breast of the mother, stagnated in the body and fevered the brain, resulting in madness. Passed down on the tongue of my  grandmother, milk fever evades physical documentation, existing as an oral history - a matrilineal mythology. My moving image work Milk Fever responds to the inherited story of my maternal great grandmother’s forty year institutionalisation after the birth of her fourth child.

My research has taken the form of primary interviews with my grandmother and subsequent investigations into the term milk fever. However, my enquiries offered very few references to milk fever, nor a concrete definition, often referring to it interchangeably with mastitis or puerperal fever. Milk fever’s illegibility and existence through word of mouth echoes the silencing of women’s histories and embodied knowledge. Through my oral familial history, whilst adopting methodologies of autofictioning, I align my practice with subaltern modes of knowledge which counter the medical or anthropological archive.

I’m concerned with the boundaries between the psychic and somatic, the material and immaterial, the real and the imagined within the myth of milk fever. This obscurity, this sticky in-betweenness, provides an entry point for me to speculate and fabricate stories, mythologies and rituals.


Milk Fever — Milk Fever exists inside a fever dream. A psychic, subconscious healing of the matrilineal tale of maternal madness.

Two-channel, 16mm digital transfer, 4m 20s.

Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

1920x1080

Medium:

Bronze

Size:

12cmx12cmx4cm

Script for Milk Fever.

Medium:

Text
Writing The Fluid Body

Medium:

Dissertation

Size:

9382 words
Exhibition: Another World is Possible — “Another World is Possible” is a collaborative, self-organised exhibition spread by Protozoa Collective. The format of the exhibition takes place on a clone site of the Royal College of Art’s digital body – a parallel reality accessed through the website of the institution itself. “Another World is Possible” exists in an amorphous, generative state of potentiality.
Workshop: Rituals & Recipes — Rituals and Recipes was an online workshop hosted during AcrossRCA in February 2021 by Jesse May Fisher, Treeney Harkin and Rieko Whitfield, who form Artemisia Collective. During the week long workshop we delved into the current discourses and visual cultures surrounding the themes of self and collective care, and their potential to subvert larger socio-political narratives of power.