My life shunt has included a considerable interaction with the world of the hospital, another nuts use of resources in an apparently unplanned manner. The hospital only operated 3 days a week, the rest of the time it was fully staffed but virtually empty of patients. However the hospital environment is amazing, akin to a multicultural soap opera, there are people from every corner of the world both in the staff and patients, hosts of translators all in all a wonderful diversity of people and cultures. Visiting hours brought great communities of people into the hospital, little encampments round each bed each involved in their own food and language, social culture/hireachy etc. My own visits took the form of .
‘How are you?’,
‘Oh absolutely fine, can’t imagine what the fuss was about’
‘The roses are doing marvellously well’
Although the hospital environment would make fantastic ground for an art project (see [url=http://www.swansong.tv/archive/npkgdsl.htm/ Pope and Guthrie’s Recommended Dose – the inspiration for Green Wing) the actual artwork commissioned for the hospital was beyond pitiful or rather the curation of it was insane. The most ludicrous example was the siting of a Cornelia ‘Flatliner’ Parker ‘piece’ in the waiting room of the breast cancer waiting room – the room itself had been converted into a Costa Coffee style coloured melamine temple and the ‘artwork’ hung from the ceiling. A series of silver plate Georgian teapots reflected by the same teapots in flatten form (even out of this context this is a chronic thing). Was the plan to prepare the users of this space for their own soon to be flattened form. It made me embarrassed to be involved in the arts, extra embarrassed to be involved in this jackass curation business.
As I recall there was much excitement in the 80/90’s following a survey that proved Bert Irwin paintings made people well or was that promoted wellness, i.e. you stayed well if already well after seeing a Bert Irvin painting – (now hang on minute there, any right minded person would surely contest that assertion). But I guess an interesting articulation of a slightly desperate desire that art should be useful to society, do good - sadly delivered in a package of lies and half truths, pretention and other commonly held artshit.
I particularly enjoyed the arrival and departure from the cancer hospital with the doorway crowed by smokers of both healthy and extremely unhealthy hue crowded around the doors in wheelchairs, pyjamas, blood stained operating smocks, hospital tunics of every cut and colour. I could’nt help feeling that smoking and cancer wards did nt perhaps go together so well and that smoking so publicly - a guard of honour through the raised cigarettes - was perhaps a little tactless (I waited till I got outside the gates).
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