Short presentation for session 4 – artist’s roundtable Control Stockholm University.

I was thinking about the difference between the terms – experiment and test on the way home last night and in particular the role of experimentation in an artistic practice where I associate it with speculation and a different level of expectation about the outcome. My work in this exhibition is a speculation. It is not real.

My work since the early 20002 has been concerned with medicalised death and in particular the medicalised death of my father. His was a death within the highly mediated environment of an Intensive care unit where the primary purpose is to preserve life. I have become more and more interested in specific materials, processes and critical definitions in this context and increasingly on the idea of being involved in a performative experience as a witness.

Going back to talk about my work in this exhibition Control Experiment; Blood on Silk: Price taker price maker is a speculation about the future economic, regulatory, and cultural contexts of one of the primary materials used in a medicalised intervention, blood. It is a fundamentally essential circulatory material. Determination of the presence or absence of chemical markers and in what quantities, the percentage of red blood cell oxygenation, the blood pressures are all elements of this material. Speculations about the economic uses of the material of blood, the synthesis of artificial blood and the process of testing are questioned.

The title of the work – price take price maker is a reflection on the power relationship between the supplier/ producer and the market for blood. If you have no impact on the market you are relegated to being a price taker. The possibility of selling blood or blood products such as plasma are one of the strategies often listed as a way of increasing the income of an individual. To my knowledge blood producers have not joined together in an attempt to maximise their returns. This speculation pushes that to the brutality of the auction process and its interaction between the market and the seller.

On Friday in the security stream 11- 12.30 Y 21 my paper is addressing these issues and I will be showing images of a work from earlier this year of the emotional response to the surreal nature of the experience of a slow bleeding out.