Encounters through the physics of blood, water, and light.

Toby Chanter’s Installation Practice Research

Encounters through the physics of blood, water, and light.

M a r c h  10th   1100 – 2000     /     M a r c h  11th   1000 – 1400

KARST  /  22 George Place  /  Plymouth  /  PL1 3NY

Blood is a vital organic material that has drawn both scientific interest and symbolic meaning for millennia.

Used in the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, understanding blood and the pulse has been fundamental to the development of medical systems across the globe. From bloodletting to pulse diagnosis, from humorism to haematology, blood remains central to contemporary clinical practice. Expressive of both life and death and a point of physical touch in medical encounters, the blood and pulse share a complex social history.

Symbolising both honour and shame, blood is ritualised in rites of passage and marks the crossing of thresholds. Blood summons fear of infection and is used to articulate diverse cultural ideas of contamination and taboo. Blood points to contested discourses of power and resistance. Ideas of nationalism and boarder, kinship, gender, and race are bound up in cultural understandings of blood and the manifold cultivations of otherness.

This immersive and interactive installation mobilises blood and the pulse to explore the relational politics of encounter. Using wireless and wearable technology, participants real-time heart rate data excites the physics of light across a large body water. The visual effects of reflection and diffraction create a dynamic canvas while pointing to the wider philosophical influence of lens and light metaphors on knowledge and meaning.