Object Breast Cancer: visualizing tumors through art

Above, one of the bronze sculptures to emerge from the Object Breast Cancer project by art duo caraballo-farman. Snip from the project description:

1.3 Million women in the world are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. For most, the tumor has no image. It’s an invisible monster, an unseen malignancy.

OBJECT BREAST CANCER (OBC) is based on the conviction that artistic interventions can have important social and psychological effects. The project includes sculptural and installation work as well as jewelry.

I'm going through treatment for breast cancer right now, and man, this notion of an invisible monster within is something I can definitely relate to.

I don't know that I'd want to wear jewelry made from a model of the mass we're trying to eliminate inside me, but there is something primordially satisfying in the idea of being able to clearly see the contours, shape, size, and character of this thing.

I always ask for a copy of my data when I get medical scans related to my cancer treatment, and it would be really interesting to take the "before chemotherapy"/"after chemotherapy" scans and see if I could get a 3D printout of the cancerous mass, as it (science willing!) shrinks. Not that I'd want to look at it all the time, you know? But I really would like to just see the goddamned thing, and understand it, visually. Once.

The "worry bead" design is brilliant. I could sure use one of these to fondle and fret over during chemo.

(thanks, Chelsea!)


  1. My aunt has been breast cancer free for about two decades now.  While she was in treatment, she played a lot of Dr. Mario for NES, and credits it with helping her visualize zapping the disease one little 8-bit mass at a time.    The primordial satisfaction that comes with visualization is a powerful thing.

  2. i intend this fucker to DISOLVE into nothing, from fuzzy inner body vibrations, ignited by deep slow & light breaths and by silent attention amplifying the vibrant light. DAILY. 5 times a day even. like mud washed away by a slow fresh stream. and i SPIT on the stinking face of “contemporary art” with its artifically promoted arrogant anus-boys and cunts, devoid from anything genuine that’s from the heart, who are readilly catching on, perpetuating, the “trends” of endlessly portraying rotting flesh, sculls, death, or “‘social status figures” on one side (when not rechewing, and reassembling something created in the past by others –nothing new…), or sterile, ascepticized, disneyland-, nazi-clean-like pseudo eco poo-gardens of a history where any contraversy has been omited, any offensive word ‘cleaned’, any brave fact or heart silenced. Carlos Castaneda said: “watch ‘They Live’, this is how things are…” also “When man could choose between Mesmer and Freud he made the asshole choice–he chose Freud…”. But we still have sparks, even a tiny spark, like Rob Dougan’s song, like Tarkovsi’s “Stalker” film, or the replicant from Bladerunner’s last words shining…
    …i mean, this not much in the contex of your message Xeni babylove… 

  3. wow.  not sure why, but I sort of assumed it would be. . .  I dunno.  rounder?  smoother?  something

  4. I posted a lengthy, well-researched and extensively linked reply that apparently got eaten by DISQUS. The TL;DR version is:

    Xeni (and JohnBerry…and anyone else), be sure to check out HopeLab.org if you haven’t already. They focus on the AYA (Adolescent/Young Adult) cancer population but have done some pretty cool stuff including creating a (woefully out of date in 2012 but still cool as a concept) FPS called Re:MISSION that was shown to improve social outcomes in kids cured of their cancer. They’re currently working on v.2.0 which will be a series of browser-based minigames and which they’re currently recruiting people 13-29 to test for them.

    I’m not affiliated with them but one of my colleagues (cough…Lance Armstrong’s oncologist…cough) recently had them here to give a talk about their work. My patient population doesn’t really overlap their demographic so I’ve been trying to come up with ways to spread the word about their work.

  5. i don’t mean to sound callous, but i think it would be interesting to use 3d tumor imaging data for a “databending” noise music project. raise awareness to the experimental music scene via  databent tumor music. anyone who would like to share the raw files with me, please send files to  cap10wow@@gmail:disqus .com 
    life is art; art is learning; learning is life.

  6. The first thing I thought when I saw the sculpture was: IT’S CTHULHU!

    “…the geometry of the dream-place he saw was abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours.”

  7. A colleague had a brain tumour removed in December and is currently undergoing chemo and radio treatments, maybe he’s being brave and stoical but it doesn’t sound quite as bad as I’d imagined. I hope you beat that bastard without too much upchuckage.

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