Creative Dundee

Hearts (and Minds)

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Hearts (and Minds) exhibition is a two part exhibition of contemporary art, artefacts and scientific research that considers the perception and wellbeing of the human organs of the heart (at Hannah Maclure Centre) and the brain (at LifeSpace).

The human heart; our first-formed organ, faithfully beating every minute of every day with no rest. It is eternally depicted in art, poetry and song.  It continues to be a great medical marvel. It is both fragile and resilient.

Hearts is an exhibition that explores scientific and artistic research relating to our life-giving organ, examining local ground-breaking heart disease research and sharing the work of internationally renowned artists whose practice is concerned with the heart in transplantation, the heart as a system, the heart as a poetic object.

The exhibition arises from an ongoing body of cardiovascular research led by Dr Nikolai Zhelev at Abertay University. Miniature beating hearts are developed from human stem cells reprogrammed to grow has tiny heart organs which are then used to investigate preventions and cures of heart disease. Artist Martin John Callanan has drawn upon this research to consider the idea of a Hybrid Heart; a single mini heart produced from the combined DNA from two distinct humans.

The work of Ingrid Bachmann considers the experience of heart transplant recipients through movement and sound. Their gestures, stories and emotions are powerfully portrayed in her sound installations and films which are incredibly intimate and revealing.

Catherine Richards work explores the power of the heart-shaped objects given to a Cardiologist by her transplant patients. They are objects with agency; a profound presence in her busy office that hold her to ransom each day. Richards also reveals a previous work that was created in collaboration with artist Martin Snelgrove – a web-based game called Charged Hearts (1996) that examined the relationships of physics, emotion and new communications technologies of the time. The game anticipated a lot of interesting directions which have now entered the mainstream consciousness such as emergent behaviours of networked agents, love in the network, interaction between the offline and the online. Through obsolescence of technology and software the game was lost to the internet. In a bid to revive and reimagine it the exhibition will host a live Game Jam event, inviting teams and individuals to take inspiration from the work and create new interactive artworks which further speculate about the mediation of emotion by technologies.

Jennifer Kelly’s work explores the organ of the heart as symbol, going beyond its biological function.  Historically and within many different cultures it has been associated with emotion, the seat of the soul and even cognition; The thinking heart. The work draws on religious prayer to express this imagery through sound and form.

The exhibition brings together passive projection, installation, moving image, conceptual art, performance, games design and historical objects from Dundee University’s Museums Services to analyse the function, power and frailty of the human heart in art, science and society.

The city of Dundee has an international reputation for world class Life Science research and for supporting contemporary arts practice through our educational institutes and cultural organisations. This exhibition will be a wonderful demonstration of our integrated community.


Hearts: Preview, Fri 11 Sept, 6pm-8pm

Runs until 23 October 2015, Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University Dundee

Minds: Preview, Fri 18 Sept, 5pm-7pm

Runs until Saturday 18 October, LifeSpace, Dundee University


Activities programme:

All events are FREE

Fri 11 – Sun 13 Sept

Game Jam

The Charged Hearts Game Jam places game development, and the game jam itself within the exhibition as a form of artwork. Jammers are invited to take part in this exciting exhibition, by creating game protoypes during the opening event of the exhibition. The Jam will take the format of a typical game jam, with only the location of the event differing from typical jam experiences.  The event is open to all game developers, students, graduates, industy developers and even those with no experience of games development.

The jam will take place around the theme of hearts, encouraging participants to re-interpret the Charged Hearts Game (see link) for a contemporary audience. This theme is optional and those who undertake this theme will be eligible to win one of the jam awards, judged by artist Catherine Richards, HMC Curator Clare Brennan and games industry representatives.

Full info about the Game Jam here.

Sat 12 Sept, 12pm – 1.30pm

Artist talks from Catherine Richards, Ingrid Bachmann. Richards and Bachmann discuss their practice and the work present in the Hearts exhibition.

Fri 25 Sept, 10am -12pm or 2pm-4pm (World Heart Day)

The Heartstart Discovery course offers you the chance to learn some Emergency Life Saving skills such as CPR and recognising the signs of a heart attack. This FREE 2 hour session is very practical, hands on and often fun experience. Just Two Hours of your Time to learn Life Saving Skills!

Fri 25 Sept, 12.30pm

Live lunchtime dance performance which brings to life Ingrid Bachaman’s  film ‘The Gift’, a moving exploration of the words and gestures expressed by heart transplant patients.


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