EC Corps

EC Corps

Artist: Ann Morton

Title: EC Corps

Attribution: EC Corps, 2023, Ann Morton

Year: 2023

Materials: Original Face Emotions: Embroidery on Cotton; Banner: Pieced/Quilted Cotton, Digital Prints, Applique, Embroidery; Posters: Artist Designed Imagery, Researcher’s Photograph, Monoprint; Pamphlets: Artist Designed Imagery, Monoprint; EC Corps Patches: Artist Designed Imagery, Commercial Embroidery

Dimensions: Varies

Image Statement: This project was a result of a pairing between artists and researchers sponsored and organized by the Phoenix BioScience Core. Artists and researchers apply for the year-long program where artists learn about the particular research being done by their research partner. Ann Morton was paired with Dr. Barret Michalec who's research centers around bringing empathy in the health care educational system. Three key pieces emerged through various interactions between Ann and Barret, and it was on these points that the overall concept was developed: 1.) Barret considers his research, work and advocacy within the health care educational system as a form of protest; 2.) That recognizing the subtle movements in the face, with practice, can reveal the true emotions of whomever one is interacting with - these facial expressions are dubbed the “Primary Signal System”; 3.) That Barret’s research is based on his belief and personal experience that humans were born with an innate ability to feel empathy, to “get inside” of anothers’ emotional state. This “super power” (as Barret coins it), is called “Emotional Contagion”. Given these key elements, it was decided to use factual research information to develop, design and create a collection of objects that would build a persona around a quasi-fictitious resistance group called the EC Corps (Emotional Contagion Corps). Imagine this - a clandestine meeting place where the EC Corps “Contagionists” (followers) would meet. You might see a rallying banner at the head of the room, a framed set of hand-made embroideries that become the symbols of the “Primary Signal System” displayed on the walls, promotional posters touting the group’s slogan – “Stay Alert, Stay Aware, Stay Contagious” waiting to be posted, indoctrinating pamphlets that describe the details of the “Primary Signal System” for new recruits, and embroidered patches available to all EC Corps “Contagionists” to display on clothing or backpacks. Through this collection, the ideas and mission of Barret’s research are defined, but also the earnest character and progressive personality of his communication style are also reflected.