Donation Station

image with latex body parts copy

Donation Station is a sculptural installation proposal submitted to Dorset County Hospital. The intention of the Illustrate is to encourage organ donation and the chosen piece to be sited by the cardiology department in Dorchester.

 

Donation Station aims to locate a collection of concrete portable organ transplant refrigeration units within the cardiac courtyard. Each unit to feature a name panel being that of a celebrity or person who became famous medically because of an organ transplant procedure. Temporary over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation opening and on occasions when the Hospital and the Cardiac Unit has a higher level of foot fall. The installation will encourage donation directly through the use of celebrity culture, indirectly by simply drawing attention to the need for organs to be donated.

The artist will work with a locally based firm within the Dorset region to create between nine and twenty-one internally re-enforced rough solid cement cast from the use of a portable refrigeration unit suitable for organ transportation. Each unit to measure around 50 x 30 and 50 cm in height, the exact size to be determined at a later date. A red dye to be used within the concrete mixing process to give them a sight pink tonal quality. The rough cement cast will give the units an artistic quality in terms of a raw edge suiting the subject of organ donation and the surgical operating process. The grid-like layout of the units looks to draw attention to the vast amounts of organs donations needed by the NHS on a daily basis. The grid structure to be laid out in three columns, the columns to depict the three people who die in need of an organ donation on a daily basis. The mathematical formation draws attention to the position of the process of donated organs are transported allowing for no error and perfection in timing matters.

Each Unit to show an external shape of the organ which it contains within its structure. The name of a celebrity or medically notable person to be etched onto a brass plaque attached to the front of the structure. The World Cup-winning footballer, George Best to be used against an organ of a liver representing the liver transplant operation which he undertook. In a similar manner, Lou Reed the American rock music legend could be represented. Medical milestones could be shown with a unit dedicated to Louis Wash Kansy the first man to receive a heart transplant. A second plaque to the back of the units would explain further details in regards to who is featured and the nature of the operation. There is also the potential for a unit to contain a brain the be transplanted, for the unit the be unnamed then the ethical considerations raised in more details on the rear plaque. Does the outcome result in the brain or body becoming the person in existence?

The over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation and for occasions when the foot fall to the cardiac unit is higher. Each form to be made from individually moulded organs incorporation colour dyes which relate to the blood present during the operation procedures. Potentially each piece could be filled with water on a base level so as they were unlikely to be affected by environmental conditions such as wind. As they would be hollow internally they would be relatively easy to store in an internal facility. The option of the latex organs to be taken to various events to increase levels of those giving permission for the process has further potential.

Engagement with the installation and the potential to increase the numbers of organ donation works on varies levels. The latex forms have a strong visual impact which would draw attention to the art forms created which would be reflected through the media reaching the public on a greater scale. The dramatic effect of the rubber organs would draw further attention to the art form when used at busy footfall periods. The concrete units to create interest from the platform of the many windows present around the courtyard. The installation can then be engaged with on a secondary level, the plates can be read and the procedures identified with on a higher level. In today celebrity-obsessed culture should lead to greater participation in the organ donation process. The potential to invite debate over the identity of an individual if this procedure was to occur is immense.

The Donation Station is an innovative installation which will engage on an emotional, cultural and ethical level. We identify with lives which could be saved through the process, our passions for the celebrity-obsessed culture of the twenty-first century Britain, but equally to engage the debate over the ethics of the ultimate organ transplant: the brain.

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A Light from Above

Ogdens image copy

A Light for Above is a Flash fiction piece written by Alison Little, potentially to be used for the opening of a short story or Novella, the text is read by herself. All characters and events are fictitious and not based on real life. 

Reading of text by Alison Little

In the distance, she can see the tower of Ogden’s rising over the West Derby Road. The nights are beginning to get dark sooner as the winter approaches, but tonight twilight is nearing even earlier in response to the waterlogged clouds charging across the Atlantic. She is soaked again, still wet from the afternoon downpour, a quick snack had followed, now she was out again in more flood like conditions. As the traffic charges by on route to the finer suburbs, she does not bother to flinch away from the puddle water lash as there is no point. Her clothes are soaked through, her underwear is stuck to her and her hair is itching against her rain-soaked face. Trainers squelch and split out fluid from all sides as she tries to hurry forward. Equally to the rain, there is the discomfort of it being a warm evening, a second soaking from the clamminess of perspiration, bad weather clothing needed to be worn on a humid evening.

The lights are on in Ogden’s shining from the tower, the pains of the glass looking degraded from decades of road pollution from the dual carriageway. She can envisage them in there, waiting for her, conspiring their next plan. She was there to meet her Brother and his wife, she only met him when it was necessary, the last time being their Fathers funeral. They had to sort out the financial matters over the ownership of the disused factory. As she enters the code, a simple 6666, Damien plus an extra one, had been the same since the Seventies. Light beams down on her from above, she feels exposed, her clothes stuck to her, will her brother be able to see her nipples or the curves of her thighs through her fitted black trousers? She fastens her coat tightly around her to disguise her body. The light seemed to suggest it was her fault everything had been exposed, what was supposed to remain hidden was now in the open.

Virginia Woolf and the Hours

Hours

The Hours

Three Women, One day.

Michael Cunningham’ novel, The Hours and the movie version, Directed by Stephen Daldry, gives a very accurate portrayal of Virginia Woolf beginning with her final act: suicide. The narrative intertwines the lives of three women: Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown an unhappy housewife in 1950’s Loss Angeles and Clarissa Vaughan a bisexual woman living at the end of the twentieth century in New York City. In this, we explore mortality, social roles, lesbianism and artistic endeavour throughout both the novel and the film.

The prologue begins with Virginia Woolf walking, almost marching towards the River Ouse to ultimately drown herself. On her way she stops to pick up a large stone, admiring its form as she does so. She then proceeds to enter the water, the actual death scene in the film echoing the great painting Ophelia by John Everett Millais of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. Virginia takes in every detail of everything around her until the life has gone from her. We then switch back to 1923 when she is not so unwell, a happier time, the day when she begins to write one of her most successful novels ‘Mrs Dalloway’. Throughout the day she adds details to the novel from events which occur. After the embrace with her sister, she decides that Mrs Dalloway will have been in love with another woman when she was younger. After observing a dying bird she decides that Mrs Dalloway will commit suicide over something very trivial, a domestic choir. She later changes her mind, lets the character live but replaces the act with the suicide of a soldier. After handling her servant, Nelly badly she decides that Mrs Dalloway will be remarkably good at handling servants and writes this into the dialogue. Her sister is in fact very good with servants and her presence in the novel provides a contrast to Virginia. The production also gives a strong insight into her mental health the penultimate climax of her narrative being her journey to the train station where Leonard her devoted husband finds her and takes her home to keep her from harm’s way.

Laura Brown is living in Los Angela’s in mid-twentieth Century America. In this she is living the American Dream, she has a beautiful house, a loving husband, a war hero, a son and is expecting a second baby. However, ultimately, she is deeply unhappy with her life and the domestic role which she has been handed. This is symbolised by the Cake which she bakes for her husbands Birthday: Although the cake is perfectly adequate she wants it to be a work of art to reflect how perfect she is at domestic life, so she throws it out and starts again. Later in the novel, she becomes enraged when Dan, her husband, spits slightly when he blows out the candles. Her neighbour, Kitty, presents a contrasting character to Laura. She is loud, glamorous and was very popular at High School, where she was more interested in reading. Kitty character introduces the theme of fertility to the hours, Woolf never having children herself. Laura and Kitty embrace in a similar way the sisters earlier in the novel. Laura’ activities link to Virginia Woolf through the reading of Mrs Dalloway, taking time to ensure she reads more of the works. Her narrative climax’ in a hotel room where she seriously contemplates committing suicide. Outside of the context of the book, she fails in an attempt to commit suicide in recovery she leaves her family and moves to Canada.

Clarissa Vaughan is a bisexual woman living at the end of the twentieth century in New York City. Her character embodies the character of Mrs Dalloway in the Woolf’ novel. Her close friend and former lover, Richard is in-fact the grown-up child of Laura Brown who she abandoned. He calls Clarissa ‘Mrs Dalloway’ or ‘Mrs D’ for short. Clarissa has some doubts over her domestic set up, she is living with Sally her lover, however, it is not an exciting relationship it is mundane. Clarissa is pre-occupied with morality throughout the novel, in glimpsing a movie star she ponders over when they have died they will live on through screenings of the film. The climax of Clarissa’ narrative is the suicide of Richard, in losing his battle with Aids he decides to jump from the window of his apartment saying good buy to Clarissa before the ultimate plunge. After Richards death Laura Brown, now an elderly lady comes to meet Clarissa in New York. Clarissa does not blame Laura for leaving her family, although she witnessed Richards torture from this act she shows understanding of her actions as a mother.

This Novel and film created over half a century after Virginia Woolf’ death explore her and the writings in the greatest artist sense. Many themes are embrace throughout the three different days of three different women. On a surface level through Clarissa we see how attitudes towards sexuality have changed, acceptance being shown through her rather unremarkable same-sex relationship.

However, the suicide of Richard shows how times have not changed since Virginia’s generation. Again we have a frustrated writer, unhappy with his work mental health problems brought on by Aids who takes his own life. Could Virginia Woolf been happy in a modern climate, would she have escaped her demon’s, or would the same fate be waiting? Who knows but we certainly have a stunning novel and film which is a tribute to the Virginia Woolf we have presented here.

Alison Little

Consequential

Copy me blog

Consequential is the final chapter of Casual Nexus, the novel being written by Alison Little, this is an extract from the chapter. The characters and events are not based on real people or occurrences.

Bea Richards has also heard about the exhibition which Sal had got work into earlier in the week. Like Kate, she had also remained in the area. Not amongst the student though, as minor aristocracy her Father had decided that she should remain in the parental home throughout her University years and his long-term vision was she should continue to live there even after she married someone suitable. After all his parents who had been first cousins had not got married to ensure that the finances stayed within the family for his daughter to go and reside in some student hovel!

Bea thought over the degree show, she had done well from sales, much better than everyone including Sal. After a year everything seemed to have dribbled off, she needed new designs and without the help of the Art Lecturers, she didn’t know what to make. She was owed money from several small handmade shops but was too scared to phone up and inquire about cheques being processed. She thought about how Sal wouldn’t have these problems, she would probably go to her exhibition opening, talk to everyone, sell her work and all the galleries would want her and her artwork. Remembering Sal’s confidence, her ability to talk to everyone and anyone of all ages and all different backgrounds. Her Father, as a Senior Officer had used the Police’s computer system to look to look into Sal’s family background and concluded that she was, in fact, working class and related to many undesirables and even one prostitute. Bea knew the reality of their year at Uni, everyone had looked at Sal as the classy number and despite being aristocracy she had come off as some kind of number two. Sal was the one everyone had wanted to be friends with, she was at the centre of all the student parties while Bea made polite conversation over dinner with extended family members who seemed to be related to both her Parents on an equal footing. Reminiscing over how streetwise Sal was, how she had known about Bea’s boyfriend had been sleeping with prostitutes all along when she had no idea about what was going on.

Bea thinks back to the meeting she had been asked in for at the Police Station last month. As Sal had moved away her Police file had gone to a new Force and different Officers were investigating the open crimes. They had wanted details on what Sal had been subjected to as a child, she had not realised that Sal had been sexually abused. The Officers asked her further details about where Sal had been in the States and when she had no information they had stated that it was important because it was in regards to a serious rape case. It wasn’t her fault she didn’t know anything. Next, they inquired over the report Bea had written where she had been abrupt with herself, asking if that could have been a reaction to the pressure she was under due to the stalker who was following her around? In response she had said she didn’t know, she was then questioned over why she had not given a more detailed Police report in regards to the stalker coming into the degree show. At that point, Bea started to cry and left the room.

On leaving the room she overheard one of the Officers ask the other:

‘Why didn’t they send in someone more attractive and much classier?’

Bea then began to sob loudly and went on route to find her Father in the office he had frequented for many years. She explained to him what had happened and that she didn’t know anything about the rape case and went through again who Sal was going to copy her after the degree show. Her Father then shot out of his seat so abruptly that he almost fell over,

‘I will speak to them.’

He directed, as he marches off Bea follows him and listens by the door. He began by insisting that his daughter was not expected to know anything about a rape case and that this ‘Sal’ brought trouble on herself. He progressed to ask what would have happened if the stalker had started following Bea around and that his daughter was there to be protected. The subject of Bea being vulnerable was raised and the matter of Sal being abrupt with her an absolute atrocity. Finishing off the discussion with how upset Bea had been after the degree show because Sal was going to copy her work. The two Officers were then subjected to a long rant about how Sal had been so jealous of his daughter. They decided not to answer any of his accusations, it was clearly another Senior Officer unable to acknowledge the failings of his offspring.

Later at the Police Station Bea files a report raising the mater of Sal’s exhibition and suggested that she had probably submitted work similar to her as she had been intending to copy her after the degree show. Tears flow down her face and smudge the ink she has been writing with, she thinks nothing of Sal’s brother who abuse her, nothing of the man who had raped her or the stalker who followed her constant for a year. Bea cries in pity for herself, the tears on the Police report acknowledge the inadequacies of the Policewomen and the failings of the Organisation.