Review: Lindsay Seer’s Care (less) @ Fabrica 22/10/19

Care(less) promotional poster.
Care(less) promotional poster. Credits to Fabrica.

Based on a collaborative research between Universities of Brighton, Birmingham, and Lincoln, artist Lindsay Seers brings an immersive 360* film to the Fabrica contemporary art gallery, centered in the heart of Brighton.

Care (less) began as a project created in response to a new commission, produced by the three universities ground-breaking studies focusing on the experiences of elderly people in self-funded care. In previous findings, indication implies that care provision can feel precarious for many of those who receive it, and that a sense of powerlessness, bewilderment, and difficulty in dealing with uncertainty is common.

The revealing research was funded by Welcome Trust, an organisation committed to supporting ideas and projects dedicated to improving the health of others. The research conducted delved deep into the reality of care experiences from self-funded customers, exploring their initial resistance to the idea and their questioning on how care providers are treated. 

Seer’s hauntingly captivating experience takes place within the open gallery within Fabrica’s venue. Set in the dark, it is accompanied with dangling illuminate artwork that cast detailed shadows and light in segments of the spacious room. The shadow play makes out eerie figures of skeletons moving across the central geometric sculpture, creating an unsettling tone up for the audience which compliments the serious subject matter at hand. 

Through using a virtual reality headset system, Seers transforms your dark settings into fifteen immersive minutes of formative storytelling. One which provides you with thought provoking representations of experiences of care. Two voices are presented within the art. One, an avatars voice from the future, challenges our society’s structure and system. The second, more emotionally effective voice belongs to a senior woman who has fallen on her bathroom floor- subjected to the conditions society has imposed on her.

“ My ambition for this piece of work was really to try to allow you to assimilate what it might be to become the person who has become incapacitated, fallen, and is near death or waiting for death. ”

Lindsay Seers

The Multi-dimensional viewing is more than a spectacle aimed to raise awareness, and moves far beyond this motion of questioning our society’s ethics by further challenging the ways in which we’ve structured ourselves. By choosing to express these unearthed issues and questions in the virtual reality medium, Seers constructs an experience which broadens the viewers mind on such topics relative to the care system for those in their final stages of life. The virtual reality exhibit situates its audiences in the mind and body of the elderly and vulnerable, resulting in a whole new level of an embodied experience.

Fabrica contemporary art gallery acted as a perfect venue for the experience to be held. Set in a former Regency church in the heart of Brighton, the former place of worship differentiates itself from other new commercially built centres. The effect of the church walls and building really grounds its audience as they arrive, even complimenting the atmosphere of Seer’s project, one which like churches, empathises with death and humanity. 

In conclusion, the Care (less) exhibit is one which is a unique yet essential viewing. It strongly captures the modern issues relating to our relationship with the care system and how society deals with aging today. The virtual reality produces strong reactions from both the mind and body, in which one deserts viewers into a deepened questionable state. This shouldn’t be surprising for a work centered on the process of dying in a culture where ageing and death is taboo.

Fraser Ward

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