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Scar Remediation Ceremony


Project Details

Scar Remediation Ceremony with Virtual Body

Scar remediation combined with somatic bodywork is a relatively new therapeutic approach to scar tissue on the skin or within the body. In Scar Remediation Ceremony, performance artist and body worker, Stella Topaz performs a ritualised and stylized interpretation of this treatment on artist/transplant recipient John A Douglas. The approach combines mapping (a way of becoming more attuned to the ‘geography’ of the scar) with massage, and gentle heat, to soften and release scar tissue. Transplant patients have reported that the trauma of surgery and frontline immuno-suppressant medications have resulted in a disconnect from the scar tissue area(s) and with body self-image. In time, a process of healing and integration can be of great comfort and benefit to patients. Outside of performance times, the audience were invited to lie on a hospital bed and immerse themselves into the signature architectural structures and landscapes from Douglas’s organ transplant 360VR video project Circles of Fire – Virtual Body on the Oculus Go platform.

Informed by concepts of cross-modal aesthetics, this ritualised healing experience was activated in the Appointment Room space during set times over three days.  It was conducted in approximately 90 minutes as a multi-sensory performance. The work was enhanced by costume, ambient soundscape, speech, fragrances, colour and touch and was recorded live at The Big Anxiety Festival in the Appointment Room of the Empathy Clinic. The video documentation is an edited version of the event.


2RPH Radio Interview Podcast with Bec Dean

The Big Anxiety Festival 2019 – The Empathy Clinic

Stella Topaz


Project Credits

Performance: Stella Topaz & John A Douglas

Curation: Bec Dean

The Empathy Clinic Exhibition Design: Anna Tregloan

Videography: John A Douglas & Hugh Clark

Voice Recordist: John A Douglas

Costume Design: Yiorgos Zafiriou

Ambient Soundtrack: Justin Ashworth

Video & Sound Post-Production: John A Douglas