The Texture of Air

The Texture of Air was a public art commission from University College London Hospitals, created in collaboration with ScreenDeep. The project explored two hospital buildings - recently closed - 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  – 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.

Credits

Audio-visual artwork by Ben Evans James, Olivia Bellas and Laura Mitchison

Oral history by Olivia Bellas & Laura Mitchison

Artworks by Eloise Hawser, Laura Mitchison & Bernadette Devilat

Music Composition by Nicole Robson

Sound Design by Adam Mendez

LiDAR Scanning by Bernadette Devilat

Volunteers:

Maeve Moay, Mohammed Rowe, Simon Wroe, Zoe Bassiou,, Aggie Rice, Olivia Upcraft, Adrienne Webster, Bev Boyd, Chiraag Shah, Oliver Dennis Koch, Ant Adeane, Nora Hoel, Idit Nathan, Linda (Wai) Lau, Olga Shaumyan, Artur Vidal, Clara Yang, Joanna Schiel, Matt Glaseby, Clara Yang, Kari Evans, Charlotte Moore, Jackie Kinnear, Sevda Shukrieva, Bingjie Wang, Rachel De Cintra, Laura Mavrias, Lenny Charlton, Olivia Upcraft, Giorgia Cacciatore,  Ecem Ergin, Felipe Lanuza, Fatma Zeyneb Onsiperand, María Catalina Venegas, Lei Jiang, Shivani Shah and Victoria Wu, Mohammed Rowe, Adrienne Webster, Robbie Wojciechowski, and Susannah Straughan

"My right ear went blank, well it didn't go blank it went ‘pffffffff’ like a detuned telly or radio. I became used to an extraordinary sonic battle being fought in my head." - Nick Coleman