The origins of this work are that we are now always ‘plugged in’: it is the electro-magnetic collusion and collision of our bodies and our new technologies. Here, spectators pick up a heart that ‘excites’ as the spectators themselves become part of this electromagnetic system.
Yet, our bodies are also electromagnetic. The human heart, the symbolic seat of the emotions, is one of the body’s better known electromagnetic fields, its tissues are charged with an electromagnetic wave, the heartbeat itself.
It is evocative that the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy called his transplanted heart L’intrus, “the intruder.” One of the stories we hear is that we will not be changed by our electromagnetic environments and our distributed bodies. It is simply a question of more access, more speed, more power, more life, more ‘ourselves’. Though the more subtle the system we desire, the more intimate the relationship with it. As our intimacy grows, so does our vulnerability.
This figure, the glass heart, is both hotly fluorescent and ethereal. Earlier we cut open our bodies and drew pictures of it in the light. Now, we use new imaging tools to peer into our imperceptible insides to retrieve images in the dark.
While significant research has conducted in heart transplantation using the bio-mechanical model, few researchers have explicitly connected organ recipients' experiences and cultural views about transplantation to the notion of embodiment. To explore these ideas, an interdisciplinary research team has joined with four internationally exhibiting artists for the creation of the Hybrid Bodies: An Artistic Investigation into the Experience of Heart Transplantation project. The project aims to examine the complexity of organ transplantation in a novel and accessible way to encourage discussion and sharing.
Hybrid Bodies: An Artistic Investigation into the Experience of Heart Transplantation represents a new approach to how scientific knowledge is disseminated because it involves artists as active researchers rather than simply interpreters of data.
For more on the project, please visit the Hybrid Bodies Project Website