From the 2nd July until 30th July 2018, Gore will be located in the foyer of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, Sydney. Curated by Dr Anika Mostaert and Christine Ghali, Gore is the last of four exhibitions as part of the Art/Science series called Curious.
Detail of Blood on Silk ; Bleeding Out as Imaged, 2018 rice paper, ink and revolving lights.
Recently I got a rejection letter back from a Sydney based organisation in response to an application I had submitted for a fantastic looking arts residency. As previously I have had a very high success rate with applications for residencies, I started thinking that maybe I should have undertaken a bit more research on who they had selected in the past and did I fit the profile even roughly. Did I set myself up for rejection?
While past behaviour is not always a good predictor of the future it is as least something to go on, some indicator of the way the organisations’ belief structures are played out. It may not have been prudent to rely just on what they said.
So the gender breakdown was of the previously successful applications was;
∗Gender was taken from the personal pronouns used in the biographies of the artists. This of course may not be how the artists identify themselves.
And the age breakdown was;
Based on this, the expected likelihood of my application being successful as a woman over 50 years of age was 0%. That probability was confirmed by the result.
Of course other factors may be at play – older and younger artists may not apply at the same rate as the 30-35 year old artists. The devil’s advocate would reply that older artists have been trained out of it while younger artists may still be finding their feet.
Secondly male artists may apply at a much high rate than other genders but given that male students account for much less than 50% of art school students at all levels I would tend not to think this is a factor could be at play.
It is hard to ignore the conclusion that male artists between 30 -35 years of age are somehow the preferred recipients of this opportunity. Not a digestible pill to swallow. An easier pill to swallow is the realisation that twenty minutes of investigation would have uncovered this prior to my preparing an application.
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.