Revisiting all of the 23 units of blood works

In two weeks an exhibition called Colour Run will open at the Braemar Gallery in Springwood.  The exhibition is curated by Beata Geyer and one of my works  Once upon a time , long ago and far away there were twenty three units of blood has been selected.  In the run up I’ve been thinking of the other times I’ve focused on the narrative of Twenty three units of blood.

This work, was one of the first of these works I made, Memorial/ One shift Nov 30, 2000 was exhibited in St Marks Anglican Church,Aberdeen NSW in 2006 as part of Memorial/Double Pump Laplace I

Memorial Double Pump Laplace reworked 3

Memorial Double Pump Laplace I reworked 2

Memorial Double Pump Laplace I reworked

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Racing Patience ICU – video

https://vimeo.com/257997930Install shot - Fiona Davies Racing Patience ICU, 2018 phot credit Alex Gooding .JPG

In the card game Racing Patience ICU there are two players. One draws a central card that describes the patient’s stats when entering ICU. Starting at the same time, one player represents the ICU team trying to bring the patient back into the normal or survivable ranges for blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygenation and rate of respiration. The other player sometimes called Death, attempts to take the patient out of those survivable ranges. Each player attempts to track the four parameters, keeping a rough tally in their head of the changes in the patient stats as each card is added to one of the four stacks. The players turn over their cards in groups of three, being able to play the top card only. It is not a social or fair game. It is extremely competitive and can be rough and physical as each player tries to get their card onto the stacks in the centre. Importantly there is no concept of taking turns. It requires an ability to focus on many things which are changing, all at the same time. At the end of five minutes an alarm sounds. The game is over. On a count-back the winner is decided. The winner is who determined whether the patient during that particular five minutes was in or out of the survivable range for the four vital signs. Who knows what happened in the next five minutes and if the ethics of particular interventions that drove the often widely swinging changes of the parameters were ever able to be considered.

Documentation of the card game ‘Racing Patience ICU’

A short video, four minutes in length, documenting some of the first games played of Racing Patience ICU.  The artist Fiona Davies plays against the performance artist Tom Isaacs and the curator Lizzy Marshall.

In the card game Racing Patience ICU there are two players. One draws a central card that describes the patient’s stats when entering ICU. Starting at the same time, one player represents the ICU team trying to bring the patient back into the normal or survivable ranges for blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygenation and rate of respiration. The other player sometimes called Death, attempts to take the patient out of those survivable ranges. Each player attempts to track the four parameters, keeping a rough tally in their head of the changes in the patient stats as each card is added to one of the four stacks. The players turn over their cards in groups of three, being able to play the top card only.

It is not a social or fair game. It is extremely competitive and can be rough and physical as each player tries to get their card onto the stacks in the centre. Importantly there is no concept of taking turns. It requires an ability to focus on many things which are changing, all at the same time.

At the end of five minutes an alarm sounds. The game is over. On a count-back the winner is decided. The winner is who determined whether the patient during that particular five minutes was in or out of the survivable range for the four vital signs. Who knows what happened in the next five minutes and if the ethics of particular interventions that drove the often widely swinging changes of the parameters were ever able to be considered.

The Game of Racing Patience in ICU

cards jpg

Just got back the redesigned cards from the printers. They are so easy to handle when playing and look good as well. What more do you want for a good robust game.

The cards need to be tough as this card game can be no holds barred with no notion of taking turns.

Thinking about ‘In Praise of Shadows’ in this new work, Blood on Silk: Last Seen

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