M selected five artists and performers from South Wales and the South West of England to take part in the project. They come from a range of creative disciplines and professional and personal backgrounds. All of them share an interest in creative elaboration and artistic fiction.
“By having an acquired disability I have experience of life as a non-disabled and disabled person. Issues of (an often changing) self identity are something that everyone deals with throughout their life and a dramatic quick change like the one that I have experienced is a difficult process to work through and a very interesting one from an artist’s point of view.”
BOJ is an actor who does not lack experience in creating and taking on multiple identities, often several in an afternoon.
Paul Leyland is an artist, filmmaker and community project manager who runs Cricklepit Media, a not-for-profit company that specialises in teaching often marginalised community groups how to make films and document their lives and circumstances.
He had a stroke in 2012, now saying “Can’t think why as it was only a small hangover and the coffee and cigarettes had eased it a little. If only I had made it to Tesco for that cooked breakfast all would have been fine.”
Although he has few physical ailments, he feels that he came away from hospital a very different person, with changed emotions and perceptions.
“I struggle at times with feelings similar to deja vu. Places feel familiar and alien all at the same time. I’m a perpetual tourist wherever I go.”
Born and raised in Bulgaria, Sara Christova has lived in Cardiff for the past four years. She was an illustration student at Cardiff Metropolitan University for three years and since leaving college, has been working freelance. She likes to say that she’s a multidisciplinary creative. She has worked in poetry, illustration, album cover design and festival decor, while more significant interests involve photography, writing and music.
Whenever she travels back home or returns to the UK she experiences what she describes as “a shift in who I am – how I dress, how I interact with friends, how I experience life on a day to day basis, and how I feel about certain aspects of life. The difficult part is noticing these two me’s and knowing that I’m not any less myself in either location.
“This is precisely why I feel that this project is close to my heart; if not as a way to understand the process of a shifting self, but to learn more about what really makes a person. There are so many ways to look at what this project could be about.”
Tanvir describes herself as a novelist, researcher and associate lecturer in creative writing, and also a “sensory photographer and dreadful poet”.
She is sight-impaired “but looks fully sighted and can – in some situations – bluff it in the sighted world. Earlier on in the deterioration of my sight, many people refused to believe I had a problem. That made life rather unpleasant for me and I would like to explore this space with a view to empowerment as opposed to shame and anxiety!”
William Craig; the actor, writer and experimental storyteller.
“A mundane world can become at once magical and alien once you adopt – or are forced into – a different perspective.”
Having felt that the identities in which we create for ourselves often become too rigid, using the Altered Ego project William has not only voyaged into “unexplored and shadowy territory” but taken a holiday from his current self.