Parallel project: Communication with Jac Saorsa (3)

As mentioned in my earlier post, I found incidentally through TRACEY the work by Jac Saorsa, who worked on a project related to ‘Drawing out Deleuze’ and published a book (Narrating the catastrophe an artist’s dialogue with Deleuze and Ricoeur) as an interdisciplinary approach between art, humanities and philosophy. A book I got a copy and need to digest in the next time.

I was very much intrigued by that project as well as her ongoing projects dealing with pain and suffer and death in clinics in cancer wards, that I wanted to communicate with her.

I was delighted to read her response to my questions in an open and frankly way. She acknowledged my efforts to make proper references to her in my blog and allowed me to reference her work and communication with me. Jac runs her own drawing school in Cardiff.

Here a brief summary of my email communication with her  (Saorsa, 2017):

Dear Stefan

Thank you for your email and your interest in my work. Thank you also for crediting me appropriately in your own blog (something which you might be surprised to hear is often disregarded).

In answer to your questions:

  • When did your projected started and what were the reasons to put it on hold?
     She told me that her full time university lecturing job and the ‘Drawing Women’s Cancer (DWC)’ project (with following work in medecine) absorbed much of her time  For her ‘Deleuzean thought and concepts still underlie the work that I do’. She expects to return to this project one day, however, she recognized that working in a ‘real world setting’ and using her creative skills would have some ‘impact on real lives’, where her project ‘Drawing Out Deleuze’ was/is ‘much more of an esoteric exercise’.
  • How do you find to make artwork on context of philosophical thought? 
    => Her response was that ‘Deleuze always said that he wanted his readers to practice his philosophy rather than just regurgitate it at conferences. Practice .. is what I try  to do, making it real and of social value through my work in medicine.’ (highlighe by Saorsa).
  • Ethical issue with working with patients:
    She considers her artworks as ‘constructs derived and adapted from sketches made on site of various people’ and not a representation or reflection ‘of any particular individual’.
    Jac mentioned that she does ‘to a lot of effort to ensure that all requirements are met even before I make sure with each individual that it is OK to use their words.’ Not doing that would be ‘very disrespectful and loosing trust and privileges’ to have access to sensitive areas.
    I found the followng remark by her insightful: ‘it is in fact very rare that any patient has not wanted their voice to be heard and they have no issues with my recording and publishing extracts from our conversations.’
  • I understand you had more a role of an observer and staying there for a short period of time, what were the main learnings for you considering your future work?
    => She mentioned that o
    ne project often leads to another. She is currently working on two publications:  Drawing Women’s Cancer and Cancer Ward 12 project: ‘The cancer ward 12 project developed out of my reputation in the field.’
  • Clinic as place for artist-in-residence: Jac find this a fascinating place to work. She asked me whether I am aware of similar programs in other clinics (besides her place at Swansea)? I have to say that I have no idea at that moment.  The psychiatry clinics I am working or have worked did not offer such programs.
  • More of finding the work rather seeking opportunities: How and where can I embrace and find possible works or artist-in-residencies? Could also mean to suggest artist-in-programs in clinics I have connection with rather to wait.
  • Funding and money: She said that ‘money worries kind of disappear when you are faced with a person who has terminal cancer’. A very truthful, honest and humble statement.

I hope at least some of that has been of use to you .

Good luck with your studies


  • I am very thankful for the insight provided by Jac Saorsa. Not only did I receive comprehensive answers on my questions, I also continue to appreciate more and more direct communication with oter artists. Something I started doing since end of last year.
  • I like her suggestion to get connected with clinics for possible programs of artist-in-residence. Due to my art therapy practice, I can see how this would be possible way forward, a social context art project.
  • Considering Deleuze and my current parallel project as an intimate project, connecting with material and surface, a translation of philosophical thought into immanent experience and practice. As Jac was saying, this quite ‘esoteric exercise’ can absorb and distant form ‘real life’. A stretch or an opportunity?  I will see how it continues and when I need to stop.
  • Saorsa, J. (2013) Narrating the catastrophe an artist’s dialogue with Deleuze and Ricoeur. London: Intellect.
  • Soarsa. J. (2017) email 01.-03 Oct 2017 [Personal communcation]

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