Immobile Choreography


The Immobile Choreography installation was commissioned by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust in partnership with University of Aberdeen’s Bio Medical Physics department, in response to the IDentIFY research project, which is developing a new kind of medical scanner, Fast Field-Cycling Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FFC-MRI). 

The installation uses video projection, 3D prints, LED light and audio and focuses on the potential of imaginatively materialising the body through the FFC-MRI process and apparatus; which makes immaterial our material bodies. During the MRI/FFC-MRI scanning process the subject is required to remain as still as possible, to be scanned successfully. However, being immobile does not mean that we are empty of potential, imagination or actual movement on a molecular level (which the FFC-MRI influences and aligns). The Immobile Choreography project poetically re-imagines movement within the parameters of the scanner apparatus; what would this movement might be and how this relates to the effect of the magnetic resonance imaging process on our bodies.

Within the installation there are three video projections, presenting a digitally materialised performer wearing specially created FFC-MRI coils, acting out short sequences of choreography, developed in collaboration with professional dancer Freya Jeffs. The choreography was developed in response to the physical limitations of the FFC-MRI chamber, and consists of movements possible within this small, restrictive space. Additionally, the principal of Relaxation Time, a crucial factor and measurement within the FFC-MRI process, is used as a choreography principal to drive the movement, and its animation. Relaxation Time is the measurement taken for the radio frequencies pulsed at the body, to be released from the cells. These physiologically imperceptible, mechanical pulses are re-imagined within the work as a rhythm, animated into the choreography, which matches the pulse of the FFC-MRI, accompanied by the gentle clicking and whirring sounds of the scanner.

A set of physical 3D printed MRI coils, (head, knee and breast) developed specifically for the FFC-MRI, are exhibited within the gallery, which moves through a changing colour cycle that effects the entire space. Moving from green, to blue to yellow, the lighting is based on the system developed within the FFC-MRI by researcher Dr Lionel Broche, intended is to give a calm, durational atmosphere for the patient/subject to experience within the scanner chamber. These multiple installation elements create an immersive, distributed experience exploring the experiential, material and immaterial qualities of the body within medical imaging, specifically FFC-MRI technology.

The installation was exhibited at the Suttie Art Space, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, from 20th April – 15h June 2019. A catalogue published by GHAT accompanies the installation, with an introduction by Professor David Lurie, a critical text by Dr Silvia Casini and an auto-ethnographic text written by Beverley, detailing the experience of being MRI scanned.

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Photography by Mike Davidson & Beverley Hood