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The Visceral Garden — Landscape & Specimen




Project Details
The Visceral Garden — Landscape & Specimen
analogue prints, back illuminated transparencies, and a four channel performative video

The Visceral Garden — Landscape & Specimen articulates the ontological experience of chronic illness through interpretive narrative. Set in imaginary landscapes, it incorporates the motifs of Greco-Roman storytelling (Arachne and Orpheus). Transforming from gold to copper and then into a red figure, John A Douglas is trapped by Arachne (Naomi Oliver) and then falls from a portal into a visceral underworld where he is eventually devoured by diseased organs.

Organ specimens which correspond with the artists’ medical conditions are collaged into surreal landscapes, signifying the various states that his body experiences; a forest of bones represents hyperphosphorus, a macro view of an asthmatic lung becomes a satellite view of a desert landscape, and a parathyroid gland evokes a strange underwater creature. The work defines the delicate balance and daily struggle between illness and recovery, death and survival and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Production Credits

Performers: John A Douglas, Naomi Oliver

Soundtrack and Arrangements: John A Douglas, Heath Franco, Naomi Oliver

Location Sound: John A Douglas

Cameras: John A Douglas, Heath Franco,  Kristian Haggblom, Alejandro Rolandi

Macro Photography and Videography: John A Douglas

Editing, digital compositing and animation: John A Douglas

Chroma key studio consultant: Heath Franco

Riggers: Alejandro Rolandi

Illuminated LED photobox production and design: Sandy Prints

Special thanks to Bec Dean at Performance Space, Su Goldfish at IO Myer UNSW and Derek Williamson at the UNSW Museum of Human Disease.

Lighting and studio facilities courtesy of UNSW TV