Beth Goldstone

How to Disappear

How to Disappear is a body of work which contemplates the unprecedented connection between myself and a woman I never knew, prompting an investigation into concerns of visibility and the possibility of disappearance. Joyce Carol Vincent died in her Wood Green bedsit in the December of 2003, where she remained until bailiffs discovered her remains in January 2006. By all accounts, she was described as the type of woman this simply wouldn’t happen to, full of life and admired by many, but by the time she was found there was no body left and she could only be identified by comparing dental records with photographs of her smiling found in her flat. Having struggled against my body for almost half of my life, I found myself envying Joyce’s ability to exist seemingly free from hers. When you exist with a genuine disdain for the body that houses you, it is not difficult to allow yourself to be mistreated. It seems that Joyce possessed the same contempt for the constraints of physical existence that I do - a general frustration with the demands of the body which refuse to be ignored for any period of time.
The final work itself is a notebook, which I have spent the last year jotting thoughts in, pasting receipts, shopping lists, beermats, postcards and other paraphernalia. The book is a tangible document of the last year of my life, my obsession with Joyce, my attempts at photographing the loneliness I felt, my clumsy scrawl planning out days and weeks in the hope I can remember them. The work began with the intention of photographing loneliness in order to aid my personal understanding of the feeling, but ultimately the notebook itself was what enabled the photographs to embody the intended emotion.