‘The Body is a Big Place’
Peta Clancy and Helen Pynor
Sound by Gail Priest

‘The Body is a Big Place’ is a large-scale, immersive installation developed through collaboration between artists and scientists. The work explores organ transplantation and the ambiguous thresholds between life and death, revealing the process of death as an extended durational process, rather than an event that occurs in a single moment in time. The work’s title refers to the capacity for parts of the body to traverse vast geographic, temporal and interpersonal distances during organ transplantation processes. As part of the installation a fully functioning heart perfusion system was used to reanimate to a beating state a pair of fresh pig hearts during 2 live performances. Rather than sensationalising these events, the artists sought to encourage empathic responses from viewers, opening up the possibility of a deeper awareness of viewers’ own interiors. Performers in the work’s projected underwater video sequences were members of the organ transplant community in Melbourne, individuals who have traversed extraordinary experiences in the form of receiving, donating, or standing closely by loved ones as they received or posthumously donated human organs.

‘The Body is a Big Place’ was first exhibited at Performance Space, Sydney, November 2011

Extracts of ‘The Body is a Big Place’ were exhibited at ‘Cyberarts 2012’, Prix Ars Electronica, OK Center for Contemporary Art, OÖ Kulturquartier, Linz, Austria, August – October 2012:

Artists: Peta Clancy and Helen Pynor
Sound: Gail Priest
Collaborating cardiac physiologists: Professor John Headrick and Dr Jason Peart, Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
Curation: Bec Dean

Underwater Video Footage:
Director of Photography: Rob Hunter
Videographer: Pete West
Colourist: Trish Cahill
Performers: Members of the organ transplant community, Melbourne - Adrian Brown, Stuart Campbell, Tracy Campbell, Peter Miller, Felicity Nolan, Mill Repse, Glen Teague
Transplant Australia Delegate / Performer Recruitment: Karen Knuckey
Shot on location at Melbourne City Baths
Stills Photographers: Chris Hamilton and Jessie Imam

Documentation Video:
Editor: Peter Barton
Videographer, pigs heart performance footage: Sam James
Sound: Gail Priest

Other Exhibitions:
An On-line version of ‘The Body is a Big Place’ was exhibited on Leonardo Electronic Almanac, November 2011: facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150429166566253.426898.209156896252&type=3

‘The Body is a Big Place’ gratefully acknowledges the following institutions who supported the development of the project:
The Lung Transplant Service, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne; Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne; SymbioticA: Biological Arts, University of Western Australia, Perth; Performance Space, Sydney; and Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney. Additional research was undertaken at the Cardiovascular Division, The Rayne Institute, Kings College London, and the Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

‘The Body is a Big Place’ greatly acknowledges the funding support of:
Performance Space, Sydney
The Australia Council for the Arts - Visual Arts Board and Inter-Arts Office
Besen Family Foundation, Australia
Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne
The Editors, Sydney

With special thanks to Transplant Australia – Victoria Branch

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