Blood Rhythms – Jessica Tillings

by: , April 19, 2018

I began the collection ​Blood Rhythms ​as a counterpart to a sequence of poems within my ongoing project ​Self Anti/Anatomic ♀. However, as I interacted with my research and my own rhythm, I began to see that the blood exhibited a poetry of its own. By giving the blood its own autonomous space I hoped to challenge the notion of this substance as dirty/excrement, and display the innate beauty and magic of something that most of us wish away, and perhaps haven’t even properly looked at or into.

The project is still in early days, and as it expands my intentions are to bring in a collaborative aspect. I am aware of my position as one limited view, and hope to encourage others to create in response or to challenge their own relationship with menstruation.

My desire is to touch, to transmit my engagement and provoke words from unspoken places. I don’t believe that you must shock to provoke, but rather display the way things are, or have been, to tilt them so they may be viewed in spectrum. I want to obfuscate, to let the people discover, rather than be told. I want to share the experience of interacting with, and reclaiming this space as personal and powerful.

Flight, 2017

Waning Gibbous, 2017

New Moon, 2017

Pulse, 2017

Abyss, 2017

Chirr, 2017

Inspired by alternative approaches to the self portrait, namely Tracey Emin’s My Bed, (Emin 1999) and Shelley Jackson’s hypertext My Body — A Wunderkammer (Jackson 1997), I developed the idea for Self Anti/Anatomic ♀ as a collection which would enact a visceral journey through, on, and around my body. The result was intended to be a collective of poetry, soundscape and artwork.

Using a Mooncup I collected my blood for eight months. My intention was to paint an abstract self-portrait at the end, akin to Emin’s bed, where the body was present in its absence. However, after collecting the first sample I became engrossed with the process and began documenting it in photographs. These became pieces in their own right, and demanded their own attention.

Process Shots


Emin, Tracy (1998), My Bed, Installation, Tate, London, England.

Jackson, Shelly (1997), My Body — A Wunderkammer, Alt-X Online Network (last accessed 5 January 2018).

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