FIELDWORK: EMPATHIC LIMB CLINIC

Delightful! Rich dark smart sexy scented workHelen Paris, curious.com

Wow, how can we make it so everyone can come see this.” Leslie Hill, curious.com

“Wonderful, really wonderful” Caroline Smith, live artist and former Arts Editor of Attitude magazine, London

 Image by Cat Jones 2013

First presented at Performance Studies International 19 [psi19] Stanford USA 27 – 30th June  2013

Fieldwork: Empathic Limb Clinic is an intimate sensory experience for one person at a time.

Audiences were invited to make a special appointment as part of a triptych of short live art works including Evolution: A Walk [with Herbivores] and In the Waiting Room: Needling Clitorides Histories.

All these works are flexible, site responsive, suitcase ready and available to tour.

The Empathic Limb Clinic offers Plant Limb Therapy, a cure for the brown-of-thumb and general vast improvements for others.

Physically pleasurable, Plant Limb Therapy allows participants to experience a physical, perception shift that opens the vegetal mind to explore their luminous green. (Hildegard von Bingen)

Using tactile stimulation with leaves (from a local plant) Ms Jones assists the participant to form a sensory relationship with the visual mirror image on screen. Gradually, one of their on-screen limbs is replaced by a full plant limb (same species as leaves), and the tactile stimulation continues both on and off screen. This visual change causes a few moments of perceptive disruption before the mind remaps visual feedback and associates the new image with the physical sensations felt. Towards the end of the therapy a meditation is triggered that assists the participant to assimilate as a new hybrid being.

A significant change is observed in audience energy and behaviour during the 15 minutes of the therapy with a number of participants wishing to talk about their relationship with plants afterwards. Approached by the participant at first as a novelty, the therapy quickly becomes a very intimate and meditative experience.

Pictured above is a mobile clinic (off power) in the context of a large park . This work can be presented with modular aesthetic references.

Fieldwork: The mobile clinic (off power) interrupts the aesthetics of an outdoor landscape presenting a surprising mediated nature experience in the middle of a field, forest, garden or park. Fieldwork poses questions about the present and future state of the anthropocene.

The Plantarum:  Is a constructed oasis environment in the form of a greenhouse and a field laboratory of micro experiments.The Plantarum interrupts the aesthetics of the gallery or the landscape and simultaneously blurs borders of history and the present scientific, industrial and domestic spheres. Follow this link for information and media and audience responses on The Plantarum: Empathic Limb Clinic at Proximity Festival 2013.

Research for this project has been supported through Australia Council for the Arts through a Creative Australia Fellowship 2012, and residencies at fo.am, Belgium and Bundanon Trust NSW. Special thanks to the generosity of The Wellcome Trust Library for access to rare materials, the artists involved in Transcontinental Garden Exchange for feedback and prototype testing and to Cate Hull.