‘Big Anxiety Festival’

It was interesting going to UNSW Art and Design for part of the ‘Big Anxiety Festival’ and seeing Vic McEwan and Clive Parkinson’s talk on their collaborative work “Intensive Care”. The whole idea of the health and medical focus from UNSW Art and Design seems quite strange in an art context but this piece seemed to show where this focus can go. Artists can still push boundaries but in different settings. It is a bold move and seems to have had a positive set of outcomes in this collaborative piece.

To be honest the whole project seemed quite strange but it netted results. Would all artists be as successful in this type of setting? It definitely isn’t meant to be for everyone and is an area of specialised research. The artist primarily studied noise pollution in the hospital and made some collaborative projection work before setting out with a recording of a young patients heart beat to a disused oil tanker in Scotland to record the longest reverberation of a single heartbeat that lasted two minutes.

All of this from a research project into noise pollution in the hospital. It was well rounded in that there were around six results from the research. Interestingly one was an app that explained the different noises in hospitals such as the meaning of specific beeps on machinery to help people come to terms with their hospital stay and understand the language that doctors used in their monitoring of these machines.

I was impressed and enjoyed the talk. It was good to see there were many practical results as well as artistic exploration. They tread a fine line but managed to help people with their grief. The whole thing is difficult but it seemed to open up a lot of possibilities that maybe never would have happened if this push into medical spaces hadn’t of happened. It will be interesting to see where this kind of research goes in the future.

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