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.
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 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
Recently I presented at the 2018 Annual Association for Art History conference in London as part of a day long panel on Aural Affects and Effects: Explicit and Implicit sounds and rhythms in contemporary visual media put together by Olga Nikolaeva, Christine Sjöberg and Johnny Wingstedt.
Not only did several aspects of my research fall into place more clearly for me after my presentation (initially disrupted by the fire alarm!) and the follow up questions but also the other presentations in the thread provoked valuable insights that will also feed into the ongoing development of my thinking.
I have been working with the idea of sonnifying the predominantly wave form data visualisation of a bedside medical monitor display for nearly two years and have tested some of my early ideas out at two previous conferences. To confirm the value of my current position and at the same time expose aspects for future exploration was so reassuring.
Then to finish the conference there was an amazing and blunt keynote by Griselda Pollock.
Because of the incidence of hallucination in ICU wards and hospitals in general I’ve always been interested in its influence on memory. This is an amazing body of work piecing together a large number of separate memories about a place from the occupants some of whom you would have to expect would be hallucinating through lack of water/trauma etc etc..