A fat person goes to the doctor, 2022/2023

Performance & video, 11min

Performance: Weight Stigma Conference, Humboldt University Berlin (DE), 2022

Performance: Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island (CA), 2022

Performance: Brick 15, Vienna (AT), 2024

“When I was going through cancer treatment, the doctor said: Maybe this will help you lose weight.” A real hoot. Canned laughter. Veronika Merklein sits in the waiting room and casually leafs through a magazine while stories of depression and collapsing from a radical diet are lined up on black slides. For A fat person goes to the doctor, visual artist Merklein collected experiences that overweight people had had in the healthcare system and worked them into a video performance. The stories make it painfully clear that the discrimination of fat people can, in the worst cases, even be life threatening.What Merklein visualizes as a cinematic PowerPoint presentation has now been proven by numerous studies: not only do overweight people suffer from the stress caused by discrimination, they are also often given poorer quality treatment in the healthcare system. Sprained ankle? First lose some weight. High blood pressure? That must be because of weight. The impact of A fat person goes to the doctor develops from Merklein’s unvarying, seemingly indifferent delivery interspersed with artifical laughter that leaves a bitter aftertaste. It’s all just a joke—as long as you’re not the punchline.


- Brigitte Theißl - Journalist, editor of the Austrian feminist magazine an:schläge


Cell phone documentation of the live performance from the Weight Stigma Conference at the Humboldt University Berlin in 2022: