Pain has meaning. Pain has a history. Pain is existential!

The main intention of the project is to provide a more comprehensive picture of pain; to provide rich descriptions and a vocabulary of pain, supplemented by pictorial material.

Pain is closely connected to our human condition, it is the feature of life that tells us we are vulnerable, we are fragile, we are mortal. Pain makes us humble, induces sympathy with all living creatures, induces compassion.

Pain shows us our limitations – but also our capability to go beyond our limits, to outgrow ourselves: in this regard pain is even able to bring out the best in us. Pain is a force, it is something you cannot ignore, it is always a call to stop, to reflect, to question yourself, to question life and the world.

But pain can also be crushing, deeply distressing, putting you in a state of hopeless despair. Then the others are in demand, then it is time for caring.

So how can we take care of pains?

If we want to take care of pain we have to understand and interpret its signs.

In the course of this project it should be attempted to provide rich, multi-dimensional, multi-media descriptions of pain and to generate a vocabulary of pain that accounts for the complexity of this phenomenon. Sources for the pain descriptions are to be found in literature (fiction and non-fiction), poetry, and personal experience. The descriptions are to be supplemented with pictorial material hence a Catalogue of Pains can be compiled.

Pain profile templates are going to be distributed among patients in the waiting areas of pain ambulances, to members of various self help groups, and to all persons who are interested in sharing their pain.
If you want to contribute to the pain archive, please submit your pain profile!

The collected pain profiles will deliver data on various pain features; the data will consist of adjectives, substantives, descriptive sentences, and also of drawings concerning the appearance / shape of the profiled pains.

Each profile tells the story of an individual pain, but there are also congruities to be found between the different profiles – similarities will show up so that it will be possible to develop categories of pains on the basis of the gained data.

Each pain category shall be represented by a pain model: 

The models will demonstrate the striking differences between the particular pains but also their common features. They represent the broad conception of pain that is the background of this project, and at the same time they display enough specificity to make it clear that they refer to concrete mental and physical states: that it is about real experiences, and real emotions.