A new dance screen work using thermal technology in collaboration with artist Caroline Broadhead.
Dancers Martina Conti and Alice Labant
Who Cares is a cross-disciplinary dance screen project (dance and visual arts) that explores and applies the use of thermal imaging technology in creating an innovative new work which, in partnership with NHS staff, reflects on the role of touch as a signifier of care, contamination, intimacy and trust.
Research was initiated by interviews with ICU nursing staff in which individuals reflected on their experiences during and since the pandemic. It was made apparent the need among front line staff for a moment of pause to capture personal thoughts on the notion of one body in relation to another, of how touch, so critical in the care context, has become so guarded, of exhaustion, and of the weight of traumatising events that are still being carried.
These accounts prompted practical explorations in thermal video with dancers. Focus was on the expanded boundary of the self made visible through thermal representation.
This research and our previous work, Thermal Duets (2019), innovates through the manipulation of thermal imaging technology combined with movement/dance, registering the consequences of the close contact, and merging of bodies as a heat trace. We experimented with the capture of breath in different ways and the heat transference evident in the exchange of clothes or the thermal residue of touch. It reveals the potential for painterly abstraction through the video capture of heat trace and with it, the opportunity to explore a poetic interpretation of the tactile.
Who Cares connects the worlds of technology, biology and art to make a work that reflects back and forward on troubled times, prompting questions about the infrastructure of care and the necessary support given to caregivers.
Funded by Arts Council England and Middlesex University.