Dopa-kinesia, created with the assistance of Kim Anderson in the role of support artist and curator, is a series of experimental self-portraits intended to challenge the many myths and misconceptions surrounding Parkinson’s Disease. The title – an amalgamation of “dopamine” and “hypokinesia” – relates to one of the major symptoms of the disease, namely the failure of certain cells in the brain to manufacture dopamine, a substance that allows for smooth, coordinated function of the body’s muscles and movement. Pezaloom has immersed his entire body in approximately 160 kilograms of petroleum jelly to represent the heaviness, slowness and restriction of movement he experiences.
This performative act was photographed in the hulking Yallourn Power Station administration building, which now stands derelict and empty. The Latrobe Valley where Pezaloom has always lived is the centre of the brown coal power industry in Victoria, and the strange aesthetic of this environment provides an apt metaphor for the dissonance occurring within his own body with the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. Within and without, the beauty and horror exist in a symbiotic relationship, intermingled with fear and a deep love and acceptance of the place as an essential part of his identity.