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Casebooks | Ambika P3, London | 17th March - 23rd April 2017

 

Materials; three channel video installation (HD on brightsign media players), modified satellite dishes with curtain enclosure in red and black fabric, wireless audio (silent disco).

Six contemporary artists and an extraordinary medical archive

Artists: Jasmina Cibic, Federico Díaz, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rémy Markowitsch, Lindsay Seers, Tunga

Seers’ work ‘Mental Metal'  considers, through Simon Forman's writings, how elements of contemporary life have passed beyond causal, materialist/mechanistic concepts to speculations that have a hint of the supernatural about them. Although calling down spirits and distilling alchemical potions has the semblance of pure superstition, the complex metaphysical philosophy of Neoplatonism, which was part of Forman's milieu, used a notion of affinities and correspondences that pass beyond simple causal relations–the implications of which are not without import and whose underlying desire was towards a unified and tolerant system of knowledge. The search for this unity and the relationship of one to the whole pervades this work as it did in Forman's  astral cosmology.
Ambika P3 and the Casebooks Project at the University of Cambridge present Casebooks, a major exhibition engaging with one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. International contemporary artists Jasmina Cibic, Federico Díaz, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rémy Markowitsch, Lindsay Seers and Tunga bring a diverse and radical range of practices to bear on the work of the Casebooks Project, which is editing the manuscripts of two seventeenth-century English astrologer-physicians Simon Forman and his protégé Richard Napier. The manuscripts document some 80,000 medical consultations, and are testament to the preoccupations of patients with questions of health, disease, fertility, stability and their place within wider natural and supernatural schemes.

Animation Keith Sargent and Lindsay Seers, sound by Pendle Poucher and Lindsay Seers with additional music by David Dhonau and Julian Broadhurst.
 

Casebooks presents six new works spanning sculpture, video and audio installation, live performance, robotics and artificial intelligence. The Casebooks Project worked closely with each artist to establish resonances between the artists’ own work and historically acute questions about the nature of the casebooks, the kind of medical practice they represented and their significance for our understanding of medicine and natural knowledge. Ambika P3 engaged in a curatorial dialogue with each artists to encourage both an encounter with its vast post industrial space and the use of an original and complementary ecology of media.