‘Trauma’ is the current exhibition showing at the Science Gallery. It features a wide range of works from artists, scientists and designers on the topic of injuries and suffering. It should be noted that the show contains graphic imagery of surgery.
There is a concerted effort made to display works depicting an array of trauma – from the psychological to the physical. Even damage done to plants is showcased – as is done in Anais Tondeur’s Chernobyl’s Hermarium (2012) of flora from the nuclear accident site.
There is an attempt to maintain objectivity and political balance. In a photo series of amputees, an American soldier who sustained injuries during a campaign in Iraq is depicted. Further along the same wall is a recreation of a graphic originally published in Time Magazine in 2005. It summarises a study by Alan Trotter of the events in a fifty day span of life in Guantanamo Bay for “detainee 063” – Mohammed al Qahtain. Using a chart, it indicates the hours that he was subjected to interrogation tactics such as sleep deprivation or “degrading treatment”.
Historical wars and revolutions also feature in other works, such as Easter 1916 and World War I.
Two works by Willie Doherty; which until 2012 were not previously exhibited are also included in the show. Unfortunately listed as a UK artist, Doherty’s work poignantly document the Troubles and media coverage of the peace process.
Emotional trauma is afforded the same weight as the physical. Several works by Jane Prophet are on display. This artist was stalked for 25 years by one individual. Second Skin: Straightjacket & Parka (2013) responds to one attack in a piece that evokes the terror of such an experience. She communicates this in a magnificently elegant way.
There is a playful interplay between artists and science. In Memory of a brain malformation (2006), Katharine Dowson uses a laser to recreate a tumour which her cousin had removed, also via laser.
This exhibition is a highly interactive experience. Works such as Grasp I, II, III (2015) by Colm McNally invite you to experience loss of ability and feeling. Staff are also on hand to explain the objects to visitors.
Trauma runs at the Science Gallery in Dublin until February 7th 2016. Entry is free.