Ann Carragher

Agoraphobia conjures up all sorts of uneasy thoughts and feelings; panic, anxiety, loss of control, self doubt, procrastination, fear, vulnerability, and ultimately protection…protection from what?

Starting points and initial ideas……

  • irrationality – distortion (convex mirrors)
  • surveillance – vulnerability (periscope)
  • ordering – reordering (repetition – circumambulation – chants – prayers – ritual – grounding strategies – audio / text)
  • harmonising – (attachment/ virtual environment/ landscape – The Claude Glass)
  • Protection – (separation – veils )

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My work is informed through an exploration of polarities, myths of implicitly gendered binary oppositions, and evidence of superiority and relegation.

The sociological and pathological disorder of agoraphobia is the most spatially confining of all anxiety disorders, and its connection to women is beyond dispute.

My participation in the ‘Agoraphobia; Spaces Within’ project has assisted me in understanding and coping with my own ‘anxiety’, which at times has been debilitating; ‘self doubt, low self esteem, loss of control, procrastination, panic and vulnerability’, conflated with the need to ‘make good, remain safe, manipulate, re-order, re-balance, restore confidence, and ultimately, protect’.

Architecture is redolent with gendered codification and representation: enclosure, vestibule, threshold, entrance, cloister, claustrum. However, it was/is my intention to reiterate the boundaries, as well as seek out the ‘liminal’ in-between spaces/places. Where inside and outside become interchangeable, boundaries dissolve, hesitant, indecisive, on the verge of transition.

Liminality complicates our efforts to construct identity (van Gennep), we reside on the threshold, hesitant, on the verge of transition, we move from place (intra-place) on a quest to orientate oneself in the ‘boundless’. 

To assist us on this arduous and difficult ‘journey’ we seek protection, this may manifest in the form of talismanic amulets, chants, prayers, EFT and ‘other’ grounding strategies or rituals.

Visual research for this project reveals a subtle feminist aesthetic, and takes the form of a minimal display, an audio sound piece and heroic narrative, implying perhaps a ‘metaphysical’ metaphor for survival.

All media is charged with its own history, containing messages and ‘context’ on a conceptual level. The veil is a metaphor for liminality, it conceals true reality, it hides and protects, reincorporates and separates.


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