The Body is a Big Place by Peta Clancy and Helen Pynor is an installation and performance work which is comprised of an underwater video work, featuring performers connected to organ transplantation, and a heart perfusion system. Before each performance, the artists take two pig hearts from a nearby slaughterhouse and attempt to reanimate them using the heart perfusion system – a process which could inevitably, and sometimes does, result in failure. Upon reanimation, the hearts can be artificially kept beating for years without external stimulation. In an absent context, the heart is no longer carrying on for itself, but rather is being set into familiar motion, an intriguing performance.
“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.” How can we think about the significance of brain death in a case when the organs stay alive?” – Dublin Science Gallery
The pragmatic reality of organ donation has expanded a spiritual, magical concept: if our bodies are able to cover vast distances and still maintain some relation to the original body and the original ‘self’ – is the self not, in fact, limitless?
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