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An interdisciplinary project between Art & Psychology

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, human interaction felt so intense and fragile that our human bodies seemed to have become vessels for storing stress.

We took the idea of the human body being full of stress and decided to take that emotion and condense it into a simple form.


Stress Flesh is an interdisciplinary collaboration between an artist and a psychologist to study stress. We started working on this project when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At some point everybody around the world shared extreme stress. This collaboration came naturally since we both were graduate students who were extremely stressed during the pandemic, and we wanted to explore the idea of human interaction in our current environment. We recruited participants from the Lubbock community and recorded their stress levels, then we created sculptures that represent each person’s unique stress experience.


 This interactive exhibit is meant to invite our community to take more control of their stress management processes by directly handling and leaving whatever stress they have in these sculptures. When we are stressed, the ways we deal with stress can affect other people. Stress Flesh takes that process and makes it visible because each time someone squeezes and presses against the sculptures, they will leave their own residue against them. As more people press their stress into the sculptures, the pieces will become more marked by the influence of others. We do this to other people psychologically every day, but the results are invisible to the human eye. Stress Flesh makes this invisible psychological process visible through a physical metaphor and invites the audience to be more mindful of each other.  


Stress Flesh. Exhibited at Texas Tech School of Art’s Satellite Gallery, Lubbock, TX, 2022

Showreel - Jonathan Akene


It is part of being human for us to have a tactile sensory experience, and so we want to touch and poke things. The COVID-19 Pandemic took that away from us. But it did not take away how we affect and shape each other in a psychological

sense. We wanted to show a chunk of body that people can hold and experience how they are manipulating the body in the same way we are shaping each other.


Stress Flesh. Exhibited at Texas Tech School of Art’s Satellite Gallery, Lubbock, TX, 2022


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