Narrative Remains

 

Exhibition, Film and Publication (2009)

Narrative Remains is a collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons Hunterian Museum, London. Narrative Remains follows the long tradition of narrations by the speaking dead by textually and visually reuniting patient narratives with there displayed organs. We may ask how can a heart or lungs possibly narrate a story but a sense of humanity may be found within a single organ if we conceive that organ as a metonym, for example the throat of Marianne Harland, a young woman famed for her musical talents and the beauty of her singing voice. Her death was particularly poignant as she lost first her famed voice, and soon after her life, as a result of tuberculosis. Her oesophagus, larynx and trachea now hang suspended and forlorn and many visitors could easily pass by these seemingly modest remains without ever knowing the human story behind the display. By selecting six key specimens from the Hunterian collection and writing a semi-fictive first person post-mortem account of their death and disembodiment, Ingham re-locates, re-embodies and reunites the lost narratives with their dislocated organs. By projecting and layering them onto the absent, but re-visualised as present, body, the organs are thus empowered to perform their own story of corporeal demise and post-mortem preservation. The artworks are site-specific and take the form of six photo-sculptural vitrines, a twelve minutes film, and a publication. A series of public and academic events are programmed for the project for 2010-2011.

To film is part of the Wellcome Collection and the publication is part of the Wellcome Library Digital Resource: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/explore/science–art/video.aspx?view=narrative-remains

*Supported by The Wellcome Trust Arts Awards