lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Breath and the Heart, Thinking artist statement

I am interested in ideas of the relationship between the body and consciousness. We conceive the brain as the site of the mind but can we really say where mind is, what it looks like? We continue to think of the heart as the seat of the emotions even though our mechanistic model of the body does not support such metaphor. We consider that the lungs draw the breath of life but where does the vital force, the breath, come from and where does it go at death?

Different times and cultures have perceived varied relationships amongst the body’s organs, thought and emotion. Our culture can be arrogant about its scientific knowing but the territory of this model is the material not the immaterial. We cannot speak of the soul with more authority than those who believed it was housed in the lungs or flew away on the wings of a bird.

In this new work I have taken the image I have been working with for some time, the heart and lungs, and the image of the brain which I introduced into my work last year. These images are projected as clear light, the immaterial. I have used video, also light, and made a tape of technological images of the body alternated with images of suffering – a premature baby, the test explosion of the first nuclear bomb, a tidal wave, aerial bombing and the consequent firestorm, Auschwitz, Tiennamen Square. The audiotrack is a series of wishes for you, myself and others.

1997

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