Walking piece details
THE TEXTURE OF AIR documents the extraordinary perceptual worlds ‘overheard’ in two recently closed NHS hospitals: Eastman Dental Hospital and Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital. Each vacated their historic sites on the Grays Inn Road at the end of 2019 / start of 2020.
The artists began by inviting staff and patients to walk and talk through the hospitals. We encountered many treasures in the old buildings -a relic of St. Blaise; a museum of ear trumpets, an ark-load of specimens ranging from a pygmy shrew to a giraffe, a Friday knitting club, a cherub fountain, door handles emblazoned with wise owls.
Aural histories with staff and patients have been “scored” with original music, composed in situ and inspired by the hospitals’ architecture. Their vivid descriptions unravel on literally out-of-date 16mm film discovered in a drawer – a nod to the quixotic Kodak billionaire who founded the Eastman Dental Hospital.
The film bleeds through repurposed microscope lenses into futuristic 3D-scan animation, leading us into a dreamy sensorium of each buildings’ forgotten pasts.
Lead Artists: Laura Mitchison of On the Record & Olivia Bellas of ScreenDeep
Music: Nicole Robson
Sound Design: Adam Mendez
Author of LiDAR still images: Bernadette Devilat, in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Cinematography, Editing & 16mm film: Ben Evans James & Andrew Mark
Curator: Guy Noble
Funding: UCLH Arts & Heritage, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Med-el