Ardath Whynacht, Mount Allison University / Concordia University;
Margaret Jean Westby, Concordia University

Posted: September 7, 2015

The Now(here) Project is a participatory, digital installation created with a group of women living with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, which is, arguably, the most highly stigmatized diagnosis in the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Borderline women are ten times more likely to be incarcerated, where they often die from self-harm or spend extended periods in segregation as treatment is often unavailable. The Now(here) project ‘diffractively engages’ with lived experience and various types of ‘evidence’ about their condition. This installation is designed as an inverse approach to science education, where are invited to learn about BPD diffractively and with attention to the implications in the lives of affected women. Materialist feminisms and controversy mapping approaches to science engagement allow for new techniques with which to address ‘marks on bodies’ (Barad, 2007) in ethical ways, while allowing for education and engagement with experts positioned within biomedical and legal institutions.  Integral to the practice of participatory mapping with highly vulnerable collaborators is the notion of ‘standing with’ participants (Tallbear, 2014) at the borderline of personality disorders in the colonized territory of the DSM.