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
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.
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.
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.
What a fantastic way of making the cost of testing so cheap and so flexible in terms of conditions of use that its really, really useful.
Associate Professor Bayden Wood and members of the No Road Expeditions group.
Photo credit: Steve Morton
Images courtesy of the Monash website