The media are not toys… they can be entrusted only to new artists, because they are art forms.
(McLuhan, 1954)

The Ritual of Prescription


United Matters, Dutch Design Week, 2020
The Social and the Self in Isolation, London Design Festival, 2020
Material Futures, UAL Graduate Showcase, 2020

Can the aesthetics of care act as a tool to reconsider medical routines in isolation?

What is the relationship between the physical body and the treatments I take to maintain it?  Am I the same person with or without the medications keeping me alive?

Healthcare is a human right. Access to the systems that provide this care is essential. However, it often takes a crisis to exacerbate underlying cracks within the system, particularly the UK’s National Health Service.

On 21 March 2020, the NHS mailed letters to 1.5 million people in the UK deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, advising them to practice shielding measures in order to protect themselves from COVID-19. This group was identified based on specific medical conditions that place someone at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. On this list of conditions was Cystic Fibrosis, a disease I have lived with my entire life.

For the first time, many are confronted by the reality of their own medical vulnerability. Doctors exist at a distance through a screen, and individuals are now solely responsible for their health, obsessing over the minutiae of their daily care. The mundane routines of healthcare at home have been elevated to the priority event of daily life.

While people are thinking about their own health more than ever, the NHS is regarded with almost religious reverence. However, there is simultaneously a lack of understanding of healthcare as we constantly, without a second thought, transform our bodies through medicine.

Relying on domestic materials, such as sugar, The Ritual of Prescription is a series of speculative objects that amplify my personal healthcare rituals during this period of isolation with the aim to counter the current over-medicalization of healthcare and encourage a hypersensitivity to the ways we interact with and care for our bodies.

By crafting new and unfamiliar medical routines, like taking prescription medicine, this project questions the societal and individual value placed on health and the systems that support it, as well as a reflection on the nature of medicine itself and its relationship to human ritual.

This project was created while shielding in London during the first COVID-19 lockdown.