What Next for the Body combines international commissions and site-responsive works that consider the conditions and outcomes of the contemporary body breaking down and asks at what point does our matter cease to be ourselves?
In the photographic work Refolding (Laboratory Architectures), Kira O’Reilly and Jennifer Willet use the biological laboratory to explore how we reconceptualise The Body, our own bodies, life and living systems within evolving biomedical research. They create events in the lab in which they are instigators and interlopers, both part of the lab architecture and intervening into its usual structures with their mutating laboratory coats.
Hancock & Kelly Live’s Untitled (After Iconographia) uses gold leaf to seal together the entwined bodies of Hancock and a slaughtered pig. This gentle act of enfolding and the subsequent making of a reliquary marks a moment of transition and asks how these unstable bodies may exist beyond death.
Jordan McKenzie’s works, Drawing Breath and Holding My Breath, use the delicate and overlooked mechanical function of breathing to record the absence of the body through the presence of the marks left behind. These works ask us to consider the ephemerality of breathing, positioning it as a quiet, rhythmic, momentous act.
Zoran Todorovic’s Warmth presents large quantities of blanket type objects made of felt, industrially produced from human hair, with the visual storyline of their production shown on a set of monitors. Created from two tons of hair collected from hairdressing salons, prisons and military barracks, these blankets create an imprint of hundreds of Serbian people.
Teresa Margolles’ works remove the distance we would normally place between ourselves and the dead. In Aire she uses vapour as a metaphor for the absent body. The viewer moves through an apparently empty room, only to feel moist air on their skin as the space is humidified with disinfected water collected from the washing of bodies before autopsy. In 37 Cuerpos threads are strung across the gallery space. Each thread has been used after autopsy to sew up the bodies of people who have suffered a violent death.
Australia’s Back to Back Theatre present The Democratic Set – a rapid series of ten second video portraits that explore the belief that all people are in principle equal. In response to an open invitation, the work is an openhearted portrait of Bristol which was created at Arnolfini over five days in Sept 2010 with Bristol-based live artists and members of the public.
Extending the themes of What Next for the Body there will be a series of live art performances and interventions taking place at Arnolfini and other Inbetween Time Festival venues across Bristol. Artists include: Nicola Canavan, Sarah Jane Norman, Curious, Victoria Hunt, Fiona Winning, Rod Maclachlan, Paul Hurley, Jones & Llyr and Carter & Zierle.