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.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Sketches for Moulded River Series

Moulded River is the working title for the next series of work for the Stream Project. The German Romantic poet Novalis wrote, "There is no doubt that our body is a moulded river", and it is from this idea that the series takes its name. The work will be a series of vertical hanging scrolls on architectural mylar film and will make visual parallels between the flow form patterns created by my own flow experiments using mica dust, and the flow form patterns found in the bloodstreams of the heart, using stills from Dr Kilner's film. The film, Bloodstreams of the Heart, is produced using data from a non-invasive medical imaging technique called magnetic resonance velocity mapping.

Experiments in creating a Kármán vortex street

A Kármán vortex street is a repeating pattern of swirling vortices caused by water flow being obstructed by an object, in this case I dragged a pencil through a tray of liquid that was a mixture of water, black ink and mica dust. The mica dust allows the reflection of light throughout the body of water and so makes visible the flowform patterns.

Fluid Thinking at Imperial College Fringe Event

In December Emma Hunter and Dr Philip Kilner were invited to participate in "Fluid Thinking" a fringe event open to the public at Imperial College. They showed Philip's Bloodstreams of the Heart film, demonstrated suminagashi techniques which make visible water flowform patterns and they demonstrated water flow form patterns in a substance with the same consistency as blood using glycerine ink and mica dust.
  It was attended by approximately 500 people including, students, academics, families and passers-by. Visitors to the Stream stand were given the chance to create a suminagashi print of their own to take away. Almost 200 prints were created that evening! 

Workshop at Royal Brompton Hospital

In December cardiac patients and clinicians at The Royal Brompton Hospital took part in a half day practical workshop which introduced participants to the Stream project and gave them a chance to learn techniques used by artist Emma Hunter. Participants made suminagashi prints, explored meditative drawing techniques and created their own cyanotypes to take away with them.

The workshop received great feedback:
"Beautiful and inspiring"
"Fascinating technique with lovely results"
"Helped me to remember I am a creative person"
"Relaxing and life-enhancing"

Emma Hunter creates 'suminagashi' at a workshop for Emerson College