CARRIE C FIRMAN
This is Not a Game, This is My Life, 2013, Commercially printed deck of cards with case and leaflet, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. Photo: Natalie Fleming.
Carrie C Firman, in her works here, “transform[s] common objects but maintain[s] their outward appearance at first glance, just as chronic illness transforms the sufferer with little notice from others.” This is the case in This is Not a Game, This is My Life, which transforms a deck of common playing cards into a game that does something else. She changes the suits to Pain, Frustration, Suffering, and Isolation, subverting our familiarity with this object. In so doing, Firman creates a game that allows people to slowly engage with Firman’s experience of having a painful chronic illness. Rather than a work that dictates “this is what my experience is like,” this work—through play—brings pain and its affects into a system that allows viewers to consider the pain of others but from their own position, not Firman’s.
Carrie C Firman (b. 1982) is a graphic designer, digital artist, and educator who holds a BA in Commercial Design and Photography (Lycoming College ‘05) as well as an MFA in Visual Studies (UB ‘11). She has been awarded artist residencies in the US, Northern Ireland, England, and three in Iceland. Carrie has presented her work as creative inquiry at several international conferences, including the Center for Consciousness Studies and multiple UK Synaesthesia Association and American Synesthesia Association meetings. Her secondary body of work involves visualizing chronic pain, which often has synesthetic influences. She is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Graphic Design Program at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.