Ping, Purr explores the currency of Instagram cat reels in my relationship, framed by chronic illness and its impacts. The project will manifest as an illustrated poetry chapbook for the group exhibition Carolee Schneemann’s Cats at Blindside Gallery (Melbourne, November 2023).
My partner has been housebound by extreme fatigue and cardiovascular complications since catching Covid in December 2021. Her life and livelihood have been put on pause – while mine are on fast forward as I try to keep up with the extra work, childcare, and domestic labour our situation demands. Given her limitations, one of my partner’s few escapist pleasures is losing herself in Instagram animal reels and sending some to me. At first, I only saw the message notifications as further demands on my time. However, reading the late great artist Carolee Schneemann’s advice on caring for ailing feline companions helped me understand the deeper meaning of these reels: they were my cared-for partner’s gesture of care for me.
The poetic text I have written exploring these themes will be paired with my series of drawings of stills from cat reels sent to me by my partner. Many thanks go to my GoFundMe campaign donors for monetary and moral support as I continue producing the chapbook.