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.
Image of detail of Blood on Silk: Buy/Sell 2017
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
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.
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
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.
A decolourised cross sits within a filing cabinet drawer. The aluminium gilded cross is layered onto cracked and distorted white paint left to set in the base of the drawer. This is one of twenty three large individual silver cross work that make up this large installation.
Decolourising is a chemical process used to remove unwanted staining material involved in the preparation of microscope slides or to remove coloured impurities from a material, often a liquid such as water. It is both a process and an end result or materiality. Decolourising the red cross mark shifts the focus to the more formal aspects of the symbol without the often-overriding associations of the colour red. Previously I have used gilding with aluminium foil onto plastic and metal surfaces to achieve the decolourised process.
However, there is a tension 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.
In the run up to the Colour Run project at Braemar Gallery in Springwood NSW. I’m having a look at all of the series of works over the years looking at twenty three units of blood. This series is decolourised crosses representing each of the units of blood. They are gilded (badly) aluminium onto rusted steel and other found metal objects. It is harder than you expect to gild onto a rusted surface. The size of this work is 80 x 30 x 90(h) cm.
This work Blood on Silk: Bleeding Out [The Book] comes in two parts. One is a twenty three page book of blood stains meant to be handled and held on the lap of the reader, within the space of the body. The other element is a card labelled Instructional Manual. One the reverse side is a snakes and ladders type game where twenty three units of blood are used to halt a bleeding out. This work is now in the collection of the library at York University UK.