Jana Vanecek

My Body is an Alphabet

Digital Fanzine p.56 | Video (DCP) 00:00:17

The leading protagonist of the story relives traumatic events in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. By not leaving the bed, they avoid situations or people that remind them of the events, yet feel nervous or hypervigilant and experience extreme changes in mood and perception. At the same time, they suffer from emotional and physical symptoms, depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and physical pain. It is not becoming apparent if they suffer from PTSD, PMDD, or both. In the grip of the flashback, time becomes fluid; time loses all meaning. The past and the present collapse into one, and the main protagonist is transported back to moments they have thought were long gone.

The world falls away, and monsters emerge from the darkness, their twisted shapes and grotesque forms filling the space with a sense of dread. They are not simply memories, but a corporeal presence, a manifestation of the trauma that has been etched into the body. Not only mental images but a living, breathing reality. They are a physical sensation, a pain, that reverberates through the main protagonist's entire being. These monsters are a manifestation of the power that trauma holds over us. They are a reminder that the past is not something that can be easily forgotten or brushed aside, but a force that continues to shape our lives long after the moment has passed. At the same time, they are neither a simple representation of trauma, but a symbol of the violence that permeates our society. They remind us that the horrors we experience are not simply individual incidents, but systemic problems that must be addressed at their root.

The digital fanzine «My Body is an Alphabet» is published as part of the series A Throw of the Dice, curated by Delphine Chapuis Schmitz for the project There is something wrong with my hands. Oh yes, they’re not holding you. The fanzine aims to raise awareness for «invisible illnesses» such as PTSD, PMDD and PME, and to give voice to people who are often marginalised and dismissed by society because their suffering cannot be seen. By using defragmented, flashback-ish storytelling and nightmarish images, the project creates a powerful and compelling portrayal of the complex experiences of people living with these conditions and breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

The images are made with VQGAN + Clip, two separate machine-learning algorithms that can be used to generate images based on a text prompt. The textual layer consists of interwoven fragments from texts by Johanna Hedva, Starhawk, Serhij Zhadan, Jenny Odell, memes circulating in the neurodivergent community, and Vanecek herself.

The Teaser for the magazine was screened at the movie theatre of the Literaturhaus Liechtenstein.

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