New work by Mellissa Monsoon explores invisible symptoms at Phoenix Arts Space-Brighton

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Sense of Symptoms is a new installation in the Project Space at Phoenix by award-winning artist Mellissa Monsoon, exploring the impact and experience of tinnitus as an invisible symptom that affects millions of people in the UK.

Visitors are invited to take a journey through the sounds that are part of the daily lives of 1 in 10 people. Mellissa’s work explores these experiences from an aesthetic perspective, using a broad variety of lenses to visualise and realise experience as fully as possible: inter-active body casts, ceramics, photography and video.

Mellissa is an internationally recognised bio-artist whose work brings the invisible world of microbes to life. Her visual realisations of the impact of invisible bacteria upon our lives have been featured on television and in galleries across the UK and internationally. Premiering on screen in 2017 with a commission from the BBC, Monsoon’s large-scale microbial sculptures featured in the BBC Four documentary film Michael Mosley Versus the SuperbugsHer ground-breaking visualisation of the invisible bacteria that live on our skin, ‘Microbial Me’, is on permanent display at the Eden Project in Cornwall. ]

The exhibition has been made in collaboration with people who experience Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), a build-up of pressure around the brain causing a variety of symptoms, including pulsatile tinnitus. When Mellissa was diagnosed with IIH in 2018, there was very little understanding of the condition by GPs and some neurologists. This often makes patients of this feel alone, stigmatised, and unable to navigate a condition that affects mainly women. IIH appears invisible to the onlooker but can have a marked impact on those who live with it. Inspired by her recent work with the charity IIH UK, Mellissa says:

“Invisible health conditions impact millions in our society and considerably affect people in their daily lives; the fact that they are invisible means that they need to be all the more broadly discussed in public. My work explores these experiences from an aesthetic perspective, using a broad variety of lenses to visualise and realise experience as fully as possible: cyanotype prints, lino prints, ceramics, sculpture, and electronic art”.

Sense of Symptoms runs from Wednesday, 18 October until Sunday, 22 October (inclusive). It is open daily from 11am to 5pm; there will be a quiet hour every day at 4 pm for those who prefer to view without noise in the Project Space at Phoenix Arts Space in central Brighton. On Friday 20 October at 5 pm there will be an exhibition tour, and private view from 6 – 8 pm, and workshops are available, for more information or to book contact

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