An interdisciplinary performance project led by artist Beverley Hood, Eidolon explores the relationship between the body and technology, and the effect technology has on our perception of what it means to be human and alive. The project was developed at the Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors (SCSCHF) at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, and is supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Creative Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.
Eidolon brings together professional actors and dancers, NHS medics/medical technicians, and audiences within the unique setting of medical simulation spaces (which represent clinical hospital locations, such as theatres and wards). The project brings the general public into a unique space within the NHS, one normally only visited by medical professionals. Eidolon explores the emotive and psychological potential of these spaces, in particular the training manikins found within them; technological bodies embodied with physical responses such as voice, pulse, breath and tears. It is my intention to question head on, to embrace and bring to life the challenges the simulation centre presents. What effect do the technological bodies of these training manikins, being physiologically real and responsive, literally physical bodies (yet technological driven), have on our perception of what it means to be human?”
Performances have been presented at the International Congress of Biomedical Ethics in June 2016 and - as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) - within the Clinical Skills and Assessment Centre at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh in August 2016. For part of EAF, a two-screen video installation on Eidolon was shown in the Main Building at Edinburgh College of Art. In October 2016, there were performances at the Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors, Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, and an extract of the Eidolon performance was presented for a group of student Advanced Nurse Practitioners, as part of their 'Professional Clinical Work Based Learning module' at the Clinical Skills Centre, Royal Infirmary Edinburgh. Extracts were also performed as part of Pine’s Eye, Talbot Rice Gallery, in April 2018, the opening event for the transimage2018 conference and Different Ways of Seeing, at St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, as part of the Scottish Medical Humanties Group event (June 2018).
A paper about the project in progress was presented at the Consciousness Reframed conference at DeTao University, Shanghai, China, in November 2015, and was subsequently published in Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research. A talk about Eidolon was also presented at the Sorbonne, Paris by Dr Michael Stallard (SCSCHF) as part of SESAM Paris 2017: The Society in Europe for the Simulation Applied to Medicine in June 2017. A monograph to accompany the work was published in 2018, with essays by Dr Michael Moneypenny, Beverley Hood, Nicola White and Marina Warner.
Eidolon was devised in collaboration with actors Pauline Goldsmith, Stanley Pattison and Magnus Sinding, dancer Freya Jeffs, and dramaturg Jeremy Weller.
Photography by Lindsay Perth, Alicia Bruce & Chris Speed