Archives for category: medicalised death

Blood on Silk Last Seen _1 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _ 2 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _3 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _4 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _5 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _6 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _7 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _8 WebBlood on Silk Last Seen _9 webBlood on Silk Last Seen _10 web

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Blood on Silk: Last Seen by Fiona Davies

At the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula, Sydney, Australia

Opening 21st July 2017 6-9p.m.

then open until the 17th September daily open hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Curated by Lizzy Marshall

The turbine hall at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia is the first space entered by the visitor. It is large, at first glance it is apparently empty, a space approximately 13.8 metres high by 12.7 metres wide and 26.5 metres deep.

The ground floor of the hall is the site of multiple points of transition and multiple points of decision making, some of which relate directly to the architecture and some to the usual patterns or paths of passage in this architectural space resulting in an invisible crisscrossing pattern of use. The most overt point of transition is at the point of entry from the outside into the interior followed by less obvious multiple points of transition over the entire ground floor as the visitor determines what sequence they will follow or make. The visitor traffic is forced to the perimeters at the mezzanine level. All of the viewers in this hall are aware of the scale of the space.

Overlaid onto this patterning is the work Blood on Silk: Last Seen. The over arching theoretical concern of the project Blood on Silk is medicalised death in ICU. That is death that is constructed as a medical problem. The points of transition in the process of medicalised death start at the same place – coming through the entry doors either through emergency or as with Casula and many hospitals, the main front door. Layers of points of transition are then built up through the systems, design and architecture of the hospital – the controls of the visitor entry into ICU, the swing doors into the operating theatres and walking the empty shadowy corridors at night.

In this installation, large sheets of silk paper hang from the ceiling forming five rooms or partially curtained bed spaces. The ceiling is not lit so the upper reaches of the silk lie in darkness. On to these curtains of silk at just above head height, fragments of images of individuals passing through points of transition in a hospital are projected. The figures, seen from the back, are partially recognisable and partially anonymous. In the mezzanine gallery the hard lighting of fluorescent tubing starkly refers to the liminal space of the smoking area just outside the hospital buildings. All hospitals in NSW are smoke free work places including all outside areas.

In a recent talk at the Power Institute by the art critic Sebastian Smee, he talked about the book ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. This book has been described as a haphazard exposition of the aesthetics of beauty and where in the dark of the shadow only then is it possible to experience a certain type of seeing. ‘The darkness seemed to fall from the ceiling, lofty, intense, monolithic, the fragile light .. unable to pierce its thickness   ……. the visible darkness. [1] The light of the floor and the darkness of the high ceiling illuminated only by the intermittent light of the projections offset by the liminal space in the mezzanine gallery speak to the clarity of the way of seeing in the shadow, this way of seeing in the liminal space of the carer in hospital .

  1. Jun’ichirō Tanizaki [1] In Praise Of Shadows, Leete’s Island Books, 1977. P 34-35

This is a great panel discussion about the treatment off site of a patient bleeding out (amongst other things) and getting them to site, to the hospital.

Click on this link – https://www.smacc.net.au/2016/04/theres-a-hole-in-my-bucket-the-exsanguinating-patient/

there's a hole in my bucket untitled

 

My work is included under the blood section after a whole lot of much more shocking materials like urine etc.

Click this link to go to the article. http://visual.artshub.com.au/news-article/bits-and-blogs/visual-arts/visual-arts-writer/artists-who-turn-body-fluids-into-art-253684

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photo credit Alex Wisser

Friday, the 14th April 2017 was the night of the exhibition Black Rabbit curated by Lizzy Marshall at The Slab in Hazelbrook, NSW.

I’d made a new work for this exhibition, Drug test Bunny or Lab Bunny a sculpture constructed from sheer black fabric, wire and buttons squeezed onto a hospital trolley. The bunny is not in great shape. It appears defeated.

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When you realise that the camping lantern with led lights isn’t powerful enough and it’s pattern of flashing is SOS in Morse code.

 

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First detail of this work for the Governance show at Old Government House, Parramatta, Sydney, Australia  curated by Lizzy Marshall.

Important Dates

Exhibition runs from 9th March to 16th April 2017

Opening 9th March 6- 8 p.m.

The exhibition of site specific works in the site of European governance in the early days of the NSW Colony will address a range of responses to the contemporary issue of governance.

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Ash Tray with silver crosses, 2017  paint and found object

Click on the link below or otherwise look up Fiona Davies then Selected work then Blood on Silk Bleeding Out.   The first two images show you what the work looks like in full light without the projection. I’ve done this to give you an idea of how it works physically in space. Then the overhead lights are turned off, the interior lights go on, the projection goes on and then the audience is added.

http://www.fionadavies.com.au/default4.asp

A table top set up with viewing positions like a peep show allows the viewer to look down into a surreal landscape of homogenised real and play or pretend medicalised equipment, as it is washed by the projections of a slow bleeding out. The world within the surreal landscape is controlled and contained where its boundaries operate like a semi permeable membrane with some things held and others allowed to pass. When the viewer bends to look into the peep holes/microscope lenses set into the bottom of everyday glass kitchen and tableware the projections then show on the back of their heads co-opting them into the landscape but not necessarily requiring their informed consent. Blood on Silk Bleeding Out_Fiona Davies (11)

 

 

Video still Capture

Fiona Davies  The Remake (working title) Video still, 2016

I finally started the making of a new project two days ago. The image above is from the first bit of footage I’ve shot. The idea for the new project had been as simple as doing a remake of Bergman’s film the Seventh Seal set in a large contemporary western ICU ward. When I say a remake, really what I am interested in doing is thinking through some of the major ideas of the Bergman film – faith in God and the afterlife versus nothingness, the impact of an apocalyptic or crisis driven environment,  faith in the face of the absence or silence of God, and a questioning , to the point of distain, of the value of an institution such as the church. All of these can be distilled to the tensions between the identifiable/ known and the unidentifiable/ unknowable.

 

I have always thought that there is something of the medieval in a large contemporary ICU ward where elements of the guild structure operate in an apocalyptic or crisis-driven context. Think also about the role of faith not necessarily in God but in someone else being able to save the patient from death, the imperative to compete or gamble in order to prolong life.

 

Of course there is also the beauty of Bergman’s austere visual aesthetics, the format of the film, the focus on a few artefacts or props and the character role played by the landscape including the shots at the beginning and end of the film of a dramatic sky. Hence my first footage was of the sky dramatically lit. This initial footage will be seen out of a small half-open window from a slightly old-fashioned hospital staff toilet, will be a recurring element. This scene has been influenced by my recent very  productive residency at Das KloHäuschen in Munich.

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