About the project

About the project

This blog documents the first phase of a collaborative visual arts project between artist Emma Hunter, Dr Philip Kilner of the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Unit at Royal Brompton hospital (part of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust) and rb&hArts – the Trust’s charitable arts programme.

The project will focus on water-flow properties inherent in the structures and dynamics of the human heart and blood system.

This first phase, funded by the Wellcome Trust and devoted to research and development, will include workshops with medical students and with patients of the Trust, as well as the exchange of images and words you will see developing below. The outcome will be a series of works of art which poetically re-imagine the inner landscape of the human body. We hope it will invite audiences to make visual connections between our inner and outer landscapes; the micro and macro, and to consider the biomedical and ecological implications of these connections.

We aim to produce a catalogue to accompany a tour of this work in 2014, before it is hung permanently at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Water by Kathleen Raine

There is a stream that flowed before the first beginning
Of bounding form that circumscribes
Protophyte and protozoon
The passive permeable sea obeys,
Reflects, rises and falls as forces of moon and wind
Draw this way or that in weight of waves;
But the mutable water holds no trace
Of crest or ripple of whirlpool; the wave breaks,
Scatters in a thousand instantaneous drops
That fall in sphere and ovoid, the film-spun bubbles
Upheld in momentary equilibrium of strainand stress
In the ever-changing network woven between stars.

When, in the flux, the first bounding membrane
Forms, like the memory-trace of a preceding state,
When the linked organic chain
Holds against current and tide its microcosm,
Of man’s first disobedience, what first cause
Impresses without inherent being
Entities, selves, globules, vase-shapes, vortices,
Amoeboid, ovoid, pulsing or ciliate,
That check the flow of waters like forms of thought,
Pause, poised in the unremembering current
By what will be fathered in the primal matrix?
The delicate tissue of life retains, bears
The stigmata, the trace, the signature, endures
The tension of the formative moment, withstands
The passive downward deathward streaming
Leaps the falls, a salmon ascending, a tree growing.

But still the stream that flows down to stillness
Seeks the end-all of all waters,
Welcomes all solving, dissolving, undoing,
Returns, looses itself, looses self and bounds,
Body, identity, memory, sinks to forgetfulness,
The state of unknowing, unbeing,
The flux that precedes all life, that we reassume, dying,
Ceases to trouble the flowing of things with the fleeting
Dream and hope and despair of this transient perilous selving.

‘Water’ by Kathleen Raine is reproduced from The Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine (2000) by permission of the Literary Estate of Kathleen Raine. Copyright 2000

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