The Purpose of Disease

Amiko Li

The impetus for Amiko Li’s exhibition The Purpose of Disease at The Dodd Galleries at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia arose from a skin rash in 2017. From rash to the interworkings of tetrachromatic sight, Li diagnoses cultural shifts, translations, and miscommunications concerning disease and dis-ease. Untangling binaries that configure wellness and sickness, Li wades into the unknown of the minded body and the bodied mind.

The Purpose of Disease presents a series of photographs, ephemera, a performance, videos, in addition to poetry and sculptural texts, the latter of which are reproduced here. The texts, rendered flush to the windows of the Suite Gallery or leaning against the glass as doubled “seeing-glass,” pivot the viewer’s perspective from outside the window or the mirrored surface towards interiority. Similarly, Li’s poetry leads readers down a meandering path that reckons with the relationship between body and mind. Seeing becomes unknowing, returning to feeling, between the recesses of knowledge and manifestation.

On Trend, 2020, 12 x 12, vinyl on mirror / … specially prepared for you, 2020, 12 x 12, vinyl on mirror
Normalcy, 2020, from “The Purpose of Disease”
Normalcy (detail), 2020, from “The Purpose of Disease,”
Tips for the outsiders, 2020, fromThe Purpose of Disease”
footnotes, 2020, from “The Purpose of Disease”
footnotes (detail), 2020, from “The Purpose of Disease”

The Purpose of Disease

At the end of world, I unfortunately caught a cold.
while everyone is swimming across the ocean of remains I realized I don’t know how to swim. so how well do you adapt in this world?

so how well do you adapt in this world?

If my fruit is bitter, who will eat me and spread my seeds somewhere far? “Without the Lestodon to carry the seed far distances, the avocado would rot where they have fallen, competing with the parent tree for light and growth.”
after 13,000 years, the avocado didn’t know, these ground sloths were long gone.

I grew up here, my roots waiting to be watered,

if you failed to find a job here, will you move somewhere else?

When I am in competition and can’t move to a land with better sunlight and water, all I can do is to stay right where I am, focus
and attempt to make my fruit more delicious to others.
Fortunately we like avocados.

The Purpose of Disease?

When I met J there was immediately a battle.
Trust me there was the comparison debt of a better accent, Unnoticeable protection-color and quantifiable social skill, the perfect answer.

My boyfriend always laughed at my rating system,
“why does everything have a number?”
There is a joke that how nothing is unresolved as long as there is hot pot. So I guess that is how I process, in the scale of a hot pot.
The desire to be understood is 5, The clarity of a lens is 2.8
The cure of a cold without medication is 7,
The cure of a cold with medication is 7

When I am sick and sealed in a blanket,
I dream about the butterflies outside, and of course, the hot pot and various chinese foods.
I dream about running free and the fresh air but now I am just like Monkey king back in the stone.

You are a camera

Tetrachromacy was the normal condition of most mammals in the past; a genetic change made the majority of species of this class eventually lose two of their four cones. In the plate of colors that is in front of us, the trichromatic ​us​ will always lose to the tetrachromatic bird.

there is no pain that is specially prepared for you

I imagine the subtle beauties of different hues of reds that were sacrificed in exchange for a faster grasp of fruit among all the leaves.

If you are sick please wait up let me catch you!

In an experiment conducted by ​Broderick JE​, ​Kaplan-Liss E​, ​Bass E​ in 2011, a randomized controlled experiment used a simulated biological threat and elements of social contagion–essential precipitants of mass psychogenic illness. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: no-intervention control group, psychogenic illness induction group, or psychogenic illness induction plus media group. The two psychogenic induction groups experienced 11 times more symptoms than the control group.

there is a joke of a lame excuse:
I have to go home, my eyelashes hurt.
you know it is funny because how could anyone feel pain there?
or is it like those fruits just hanging there, struggling to become sweeter.

Body Autonomy

My ears start to create their own tinnitus when my guard is down,
we learned to flip the world upside down, this idea makes me scared to the feet

My body is a field of experimentation, I can observe it so closely. The kind of drawing I was obsessed with since I was a kid:
I bit on my arm and there is the immediate mark of my teeth.

I like to think about printing. I like to think of my body as a template, fully soaked in ink
I press it against the beach, my body expands from the size of a post-it to A4,
I also like to think about extras. All of them in a TV show like Desperate Housewives or Friends. Do they like their breakfast?

An acupuncture clinic on the 5th Floor

What’s the purpose of disease?
Now please take a look at the lines on your palm,
The first horizontal one is about your career,
the one below that, if it’s long then, ​you will hit people very hard. The first vertical line on the left is love, the one next to it, is life.
I used to extend my line to the belly button,
so that I could be a pile of old mud that lives 10000000000000 years

happiness and depression are just blood circulation, if life is bitter just take a candy here is the vein of sensitivity, some people cut it to have an easier life
crying is sweating, bitterness is pure science, so no need to be too sensitive
if you feel stiff then just stretch your body

The Purpose of Disease was on view February 27, 2020–March 27, 2020 but was closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. All works and poetry by Amiko Li; introduction by Laurel V. McLaughlin.