Alexa Wright on the panel, “Organ transplantation and art: The ethics and politics of representation”
ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, THE DEPARTMENT OF AFRICA, OCEANIA AND THE AMERICAS OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT SOAS
PANEL – Organ Transplantation and art: the ethics and politics of representation
Panel Participants (alphabetical order)
Kimberley Foster (Art) The kidney, once my father’s, still lives in the same house as him, has the same function, but is now a few meters away, tucked on the underside of my mother’s abdomen. Can the transplant be re-interpreted as a way of making new meaning and a metaphor of inter-subjective transformation? My PhD practice research involves making objects which are re-positioned, shared, held and performed. I explore the transformative potential of these pedagogical objects, asking what embodied and metaphoric meanings arise through their haptic exchange as they extend from the body prosthetically, becoming both object and subject.
Helen Pynor (Art) In The Body is a Big Place, a dialogue is staged between 'performing' organs and the performing bodies of members of an organ transplant community who were performers in the work's underwater video sequences. During live performances in the gallery space, a heart perfusion device was used to re-animate a pair of fresh pig hearts obtained from an abattoir. This paper explores material, visceral and metaphoric strategies used in the project to present 'un-representable' aspects of transplantation.
Lesley Sharp (Anthropology) This paper—based on two decades of anthropological field research in the realm of human organ transfer in the U.S.—examines the material culture of professional versus personal donor memorials through the themes of controversy, censorship, and subversion.
Abin Thomas (Anthropology) will explore how organ transfer is ‘re-presented’ in movies and documentaries in India and analyse the public response to media portrayal of transplantation.
Thi Que Chi Trinh (Social Design) and Michel Gölz (Social Design) Ex-Life is a European-Vietnamese social design project intended to encourage Vietnamese youth to exchange views on organ transplantation. The project involved facilitating conversation through participants touching organ-shaped objects, asking how they might imagine sharing an organ with another.
Alexa Wright (Art), The Heart Project is an interdisciplinary research project investigating the phenomenological effects of heart transplant on recipients and donor families in Canada. This presentation will explore themes of self and other, connectivity and assemblage, describe the working processes involved and show some the resulting artworks, which include video, sound, interactive installation, drawing and photography.
John Wynne (Art) - Illustrated by sounds and images from two artist research projects based in major transplant centres in the UK, this talk will look at how patients medicalise their personal narratives through their long-term relationships with hospital staff and look at potential ways of using linguistic and audio analysis to explore how and when emotions surface in their words and voices.
Registration opens on 22 February 2018