Being Towards Death, the exhibition

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.

DSC04373Fiona 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.

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Invitation to two exhibition openings next week.

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.  

IMG_3751On 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.

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Podcast from late last year – art/science discussion

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.

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Image – At the Legacy day for Cudos in the Nano Science Hub at the School of Physics University of Sydney 2017

 

Blood test research into predicting your chances of having another heart attack.

Article written by Liam Mannix in the Sydney Morning Herald outlines exciting new work exploring changes in our blood and what they can indicate. I know that once someone has had a heart attack the fear of having another can limit how they let themselves experience life.  So great news from this team of Melbourne based researchers.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/blood-test-to-better-predict-heart-attacks-being-developed-in-melbourne-20180906-p5022y.html?btis

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Image of detail of Blood on Silk: Buy/Sell 2017

 

Images from Gore installed in the foyer of ‘the Joan’.

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Images from two of the three works forming part of the installation Blood on Silk: Gore  in the foyer of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith , Sydney Australia.

There have four segments of this programme designed to provide opportunities for an accidental interaction between an art/science work and the viewer.  Visitors to the ofyer include students at the Penrith Conservatorium,  children attending school holidays activities, workshops and performances, the evening theatre audience and casula passer by the adjacent park

Infusions of plasma from young producers shown to be of benefit in a small trial of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimers.

http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/11/clinical-trial-finds-blood-plasma-infusions-for-alzheimers-safe.html

Published online by Stanford Medicine News Centre, this article reports on a small early stage clinical trial at Stanford University. The trial was conducted to evaluate the safety of giving patients with mild to moderate Alzheimers, infusions of blood plasma from young producers. Unexpectedly in the trial benefits in tests of functional performance by those patients were reported, primarily by their carers.  The trial wasn’t designed to test these parameters and obviously further testing needs to be undertaken. Still very, very interesting.   Also interesting is that the article reports that the intellectual property for the regime of infusing patients with plasma from 18-30 year old producers is owned by a private biotechnology company called Alkahest.

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Detail of a work in current progress in the series on the story ‘twenty three units of blood’. All of those units of blood were donated in the sense that they were given without  monetary reward. In Australia when you donate blood you receive thanks, a cup of tea, a biscuit and if you are really good, a lolly.

I posted in August 2017 about the blood and blood products production business including a link to a documentary shown on the Australian, ABC, Four Corners programme. http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/four-corners/NC1704H029S00. Not sure if it is still online but here is the link for you to copy and paste if you’re interested.  It raises  ethical questions about what could be described as the farming of humans for profit or as additional ways for individuals to earn money by selling their plasma on a regular basis.

‘Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there were twenty three units of blood’

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Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there were twenty-three units of blood
2018, ribbon, canvas and paint. Two panels each 96.4 x 176.5 (h) cm  Photo Alex Gooding

In this work twenty-three squat square crosses are arranged in a grid of six by four, with one missing. The dimensions of the cross and its alignment mimic those of the red cross symbol that identifies the emblem associated with the supply of blood and blood products within Australia.
However, here, the red cross has been decolourised. This is a chemical process used to remove unwanted staining material in the preparation of microscope slides or to remove coloured impurities from water such as dye waste. Decolourising the red cross shifts the focus to the more formal aspects of the symbol without the often-overriding associations of the colour red.
The reflectivity of both the satin weave of the ribbon and the modified sateen weave of the work amplifies the movements of the viewer appearing to alter the colour of the ribbons and thus its relationship with the viewer.
A tension remains, as it is the red colour of blood that signifies its usefulness to the body. The depth and shade of red shows the amount of haemoglobin per litre and/or the percentage of oxygenated haemoglobin in the blood. So, the process of decolourising strips away this signifier of purpose and effectiveness.