Just standing on your head waiting for the glue to dry that is sticking a button to your feet. Small figurines becoming playing tokens for a modified version of snakes and ladders that leads the players through a game outlining the stages of heart failure.
The game lies inside the wonder cabinet zinc box of Blood on Silk: Total Artificial heart (TAH). This work, the last in the series of five wonder cabinet works, provides another point of focus on the most elemental force behind the movement of blood and blood products: the beating of the heart. The heart is also one of the transplantable body parts and this junction between blood and body parts, the heart forms a focal point in this work.
Opening Thursday 9 May, 6-8 pm and running until 18th May 2019 at the Sydney College of the Arts Gallery, Kirkbride Way off Park Drive, Lilyfield, Sydney Australia. Hours Mon to Fri 11 am – 5 p.m. Sat 11 – 4 p.m.
This is my PhD examination exhibition, the culmination of four years of practice-led research into medicalised death in ICU. There are a series of installations, object-based works, performances and interactive works.
Warning: The exhibition and the performative lecture contain images, sounds and activities that deal with death, dying, hospitals, violence, blood and body parts for transplantation.
This is the last of the five wonder cabinet works in this series on blood, blood products and body parts. This final work links two aspects, the movement of blood and blood products within the body and the heart that ensures that circulation. The heart is one of the transplantable body organs. In many of the current prototypes under development for replacement hearts, the mechanism sits outside the body and in appearance reflects medicalised design aesthetics. In this work the beautiful double headed flask used in the chemical laboratory sits outside the zinc box of the work while inside a modified game of snakes and ladders is played as we try to make sense of the progress of disease.
Work in Progress – Blood on Silk: Total Artificial Heart (TAH).
In Gallery five of the Sydney College of the Arts/ University of Sydney Gallery two Masters of Art Curating students, Tian Kang and Yunyan Tang selected my new installation Where they were last seen for their exhibition Being towards Death. Gallery five is an interesting mix between being a white cube and a non-white cube space. In this installation developed specifically for this exhibition and this site, the curatorial premise developed by Tian and Yunyang resulted in a more direct focus on the physicality of the Intensive Care Unit. The image shows a detail of one of the main elements of the space. The patient bedspace is sited directly underneath a large roof lantern or skylight. The overbed hospital table holds the bedside medical monitor playing the simulation of the visual data and sonic traces of a patient bleeding out while the silk paper bed and pillow shape refutes the functionality of the bed by its ephemeral, flimsy and seemingly transitory nature. The next post will address one of the other elements of the installation, the blanket work.
Fiona Davies Where they were last seen (detail) 2018
Installation, silk paper, found objects, video, framed print, photographic print and fabric.
Size variable as installed Gallery 5 SCA Gallery Sydney. Photo credit Alex Gooding
In terms of the bedspace of the patient the body in healthcare settings occupies a complex but somewhat ambivalent position: it is at the centre of everything yet is at the same time oddly displaced and this is even more pronounced once that body is dead. Then apparently there is little tolerance for the sight of the dead body by others. Speciality transports are used to move the body from the place of death to the morgue. This conceals both the presence and/or the shape of the body.
It is possible that this well-intentioned consideration of the sensibilities of the living members of the public work to dislocate or sever the experiences of the recently dead patient’s family and carers. Until death they were associated with a specific location in the hospital, the bed or bedspace of the patient. After death and the transportation of the body to the morgue they tend to be cut free. There is no physical evidence of the patient in the public sphere of the hospital and the family and carers appear to be of limited further interest to the hospital.
The exhibition was part of the Curatorial Lab component of the Masters of Art Curating program.
On the 17th October from 6-8 p.m. an exhibition Being towards Death curated by University of Sydney, Masters of Art Curating, students, Tian Kang and Yunyan Tang will open at the SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, Sydney. They have curated a new work of mine an installation titled Where they were last seen.
On the following evening the 18th October also from 6-8 p.m. Tian and Yunyan with a number of other Master of Art Curating students have also curated another work of mine into a group exhibition titled In Translation at Verge Gallery on the main campus of the University of Sydney. The work selected for this exhibition is Racing Patience ICU, a performative installation from 2018.
podcast click here
From the archives of ARTHouse on Radio BM 89.1 – In this Segment, Justin Morrissey leads this week’s panel discussion on ‘Art & Science’. Justin is joined by Damian Castaldi, Fiona Davies, Solange Kershaw and Julie Ankers. Two tracks from Out of Abingdon’s newest album are also featured.
Image – At the Legacy day for Cudos in the Nano Science Hub at the School of Physics University of Sydney 2017