The Texture of Air was a public art commission from University College London Hospitals. It explores two lost hospital buildings and the extraordinary perceptual worlds within them. It unfolded in the last days of the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, located at no. 330 Grays Inn Road for nearly 150 years, and the Eastman Dental Hospital, a few doors down, established 1930.
The Texture of Air created a series of community walks and workshops, an oral history archive, and an award-winning audio-visual artwork. Three sculptures commemorating permanently installed at 47-49 Huntley Street.
The old hospitals boasted many medical innovations – the discovery of oto-acoustic emissions, the first NHS cochlear implant programme, the repair of famous opera singers . But the everyday senses of place became the focus for On the Record, and collaborators ScreenDeep. “It’s the texture of air”, says a patient who has lost his sense of smell, describing his uncanny experience of a perception severed from its former physical architecture. This became a fitting title for an exhibition about closed hospitals that persist in the imagination.
Kindly supported by: National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to the contributions of National Lottery players, University College London Hospitals Arts & Heritage & The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
A project by On the Record and ScreenDeep
Laura Mitchison, oral historian, researcher and artist
Olvia Bellas, oral historiann, researcher and artist
Nicole Robson, composer and sound artist
Adam Mendez - sound designer
Bernadette Devilat - LiDAR scanning and animation
Ben Evans James & Andrew Mark - cinematographer and film editors
Bea Moyes - researcher and LiDAR production co-ordinator