(Reading, PA, April 19, 2023) When it starts, we will let the host know you are waiting is a multimedia installation by Philadelphia-based artist Alicia Link that addresses inequity through the visual language of the gynecologist’s office and waiting room. This ‘everyday’ space illustrates the often subtle violence of inequity enacted upon certain bodies. Working from personal experiences, the artist highlights hostility towards femme, gender nonconforming, and transgender bodies in the US through the guise of providing protection and care.

In the summer of 2022, due to a medical issue the artist was shuffled between three different medical institutions. These spaces were unequivocally institutional; they were messy yet impersonal, and mired in the sterility of bureaucracy. Since then, the artist has been ruminating on the true vulnerability of a body processed by a profession wherein care and comfort are necessary but housed in a space absent of those qualities. When the human body enters this space it becomes a site of data harvesting and profit. The medical institution becomes a shakedown.

With tactile sculptures, ink drawings, and media work Alicia Link builds a new body, one of the estranged anatomies of the waiting room. Quotidian objects are reinvented into the abject: hysteroscopy curtains quilted with hermetically sealed artifacts, a line of anthropomorphic chairs enveloping the remnants of patients past—a watch, an insurance card, and worn magazines. Isolated from the rest of the installation, alone along the gallery wall sits the Billing Department, represented by a phone permanently off the hook.

curator: Kevin Brophy