The Wellcome Collection

Today I visited The Wellcome Trust‘s art collection in Euston for the first time and really enjoyed my visit. I attended two exhibitions in particular – ‘This is a voice’ and ‘States of mind’ – which had a variation of fine art installations and illustrations that contributed to an interesting and thought-provoking experience.

I was limited to the number of photos I was able to take myself of the exhibits, due to both gallery restrictions as well as my desire to fully immerse myself in the pieces, but I nevertheless took back lots of names and ideas for later reference and inspiration.

States of Mind: Tracing the edges of consciousness

 

A section of the exhibition I especially liked was the installations focussed on memory, in particular a film by Kerry Tribe titled ‘H.M.’ which details the story of an elderly man who lost his ability to create new memories as a result of experimental surgery to relieve his epilepsy 30 years prior. The film was made especially effective with the use of two projectors side by side which at times were out of synch, but would then would perfectly aline at moments in the story. I really hope to be able to watch and share the video again in the future, as it was perfectly edited and filmed to show the journey of the man’s struggle to regain control of a crucial part of human consciousness.

Though I was unable to find a copy of the film online as of yet, I did find a Youtube clip showing the back end of the video which showed the complex dual projector process, taken when the film was at another art gallery:

“The 16mm film utilizes a single print running on a loop through 2 projectors that operate on a 20 second delay, Also the film contains a completely stereo soundtrack that is triggered via a smpte time code running in place of the traditional optical soundtrack.” (Dino Everett, 2016)

Another fascinating piece was a series of MRI scans which showed the brain activity of a number of subjects within varying lengths and causes of a ‘vegetative state’. The scans proved that from length of paralysis ranging from a couple of months up to almost a decade, there was some degree of brain activity and response when the people were asked basic questions, which must have been a breakthrough discovery.

A large section of the exhibit was concerned with sleep; the pieces about sleep paralysis were really interesting to me as it was a phenomenon I hadn’t previously heard about. I managed to film a short clip of the video myself, but found a full version on Youtube:
‘Featuring musical extracts from ‘Vide Cor Meum’ by Dominic de Grande and interviews with Nathan McKenna, Paul O’Donnell, David Dixon and Charlie Cauchi
People who suffer from sleep paralysis describe their experiences in this powerful and sometimes disturbing installation. Artist Carla MacKinnon founded the Sleep Paralysis Project to explore the phenomenon from cultural, historical and medical perspectives.’
I really like the use of abstraction of images to help the audience understand at firsthand the feeling of sleep paralysis, which is coupled really well with the chilling narrative.

THIS IS A VOICE

Coming from a musical background, specifically as a classically trained singer, I was really interested in this exhibition which explored the uses, variations and potential of the voice. The provided gallery brochure was really helpful in explaining some of the installations which were not so easy to understand at a first glance, and it definitely made me much more aware of how I use my voice from now one.

Other pieces

Next to the main galleries there were also a few pieces concerned with the human anatomy, and this display about human DNA really caught my eye. The ceiling-high bookcase was filled with large white files titled ‘the human chromosome’ from number 1 to 22, as well as chromosomes X and Y. The files contained thick printed books with page-to-page code which represents the code that makes up all our own DNA, and was a fascinating method to visually show the complexity and depth that makes up essentially who we are.

 

 

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