My work challenges the concept of physical privacy and addresses situations in which we release ownership of our own bodies, challenging the social boundaries of personal space. Blurring the line between audience and artwork, inviting viewers to become part of the process the relationship between artist and audience becomes immediately intimate and hinged on assumed trust. Mirroring the symbiosis of the doctor-patient relationship, illustrating the now antediluvian spectacle of surgery as performance 'theatre' and drawing on the history of physicians using sound as a tool for medical diagnosis.
For this performance piece I have developed gloves with contact microphones sewn into the fingers to create sonic reactive spine impressions of willing audience volunteers. I have carefully modified each microphone to produce a different tone and texture of sound. I Ceremoniously wrap the participant, always from the same hanging roll of paper, then I create a rubbing of their back, using the amplified drawing sounds as my guide for creative choices. When this process is finished I cut the roll and reel out a clean sheet for the next person, as though I am sanitizing the space, mimicking the ingrained rituals of a medical practitioner. I use charcoal as my drawing implement due to it's long history of use as a medicinal remedy and the light aerated nature of this material acts as an excellent vehicle for the sound to pass through in a detailed and subtle way.
The resulting series of expressive drawings created are incidental, a delicate and beautiful visual record of the sounds created together.
The initial inspiration for this performance was witnessing the process of my father discovering the agony he had been living in living in was due to multiple undiagnosed fractures to his spine. My usual avid fascination with medical procedures became clouded with emotions due to personal connections and I became squeamish and uncomfortable with knowing the gory details of the diagnosis and procedures required to fix his shattered vertebrae. The project began as part of a four month residency in Lisbon, using x-rays of his injuries I transposed the shapes into melody lines and interpreted the spinal structure as a graphic score which I played in a seres of interactive performances using abstract casts of the junctions and connecting spaces of my own body to trigger samples and build up a soundscape. As part of the performance I invited audience members to be wrapped in paper whilst I used gloves I created with contact microphones sewn in to the fingers to amplify the sounds of me taking a charcoal rubbing of their spine. This is the main element of this work I decided to take further and formed the participatory performance Vertebrae.