June 2nd saw the launch of ‘The Patient’, an art exhibit hosted by the University of New South Wales, Sydney. What could you find among the exhibits? None other than the newest, shiniest version of MIRAGE.
“The Patient examines the embodied experience of the artist as medical patient and the medical patient as living subject in contemporary art.”
Artist Eugenie Lee’s exhibit, entitled ‘Seeing is Believing’, is a collaborative science and art project that aims to convey the experience of chronic pain, in particular, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The exhibit features the MIRAGE alongside an anechoic chamber. For Eugenie’s website click here. Dr. Tasha Stanton was also instrumental in organising MIRAGE’s début at the event, the Body in Mind lab’s website can be found here.
MIRAGE is featured in the exhibit to demonstrate how our bodily representations may be distorted, as they often are for people with CRPS who may be less aware of where their limbs are in space. The disappearing hand trick is a fun way of illustrating how easily we can lose track of where our hands are. Our beloved finger stretching was also demonstrated, along with a hand swapping illusion. From my experience Australians have more vocal reactions than us Brits, which created a great atmosphere and a lot of discussion with Eugenie’s team, or as she called us ‘my neuroscientists’. This included Tasha Stanton and Valeria Bellan from the Adelaide Body in Mind lab, and myself (Hayley, pictured below trying things out). I was lucky enough to be flown out to Aus to deliver and help with the assembly of the newest MIRAGE.
The anechoic chamber is a sound proof chamber that allowed Eugenie to create an experience for the participant that would ‘simulate the altered sensory-cognitive response of people living with chronic pain.’ This involved audio and visual effects and the use of an oculus rift, and purpose built glove. I was able to participate prior to the opening and found that the visual effects did change how my hand was feeling (No spoilers).
With a non-stop queue for the exhibit, I’d say opening night was a great success full of stimulating scientific discussion created through art…and the odd few screams during finger stretching!
The event is running for 10 weeks, finishing on Saturday 6th August at 5pm (AEST). If you would like to participate you can find all the information by clicking on the following link:
I’d like to say a big thanks to Tasha who was not only my guide to Sydney, but also my saviour on day 1 when collecting the MIRAGE from customs as I was severely suffering with the worst jetlag ever! MIRAGE may still be stuck in customs if it wasn’t for Tasha! Also a big thanks to Eugenie for inviting us to her event, I had the best time! Finally to Valeria, Flavia and Tasha for showing me the delights of Surry Hills and Paddington and taking me to my first ever Aussie pub quiz – it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. Thanks everyone!