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Blog - Rachel Gadsden

Introducing Deluge – a journey through isolation


26th Dec 2019
Hong Kong artistic collaborators spoke to me about a virus that was sweeping across China radiating outwards from Wuhan Province.

9th January 2020
Had my first regular Human Antibody Transplant – Royal Brompton Hospital (she experienced multiple side effects.)

28th Feb 2020
I received her 4th Human Antibody Transplant – Royal Brompton Hospital
(regular admission for twice monthly transplant of Flebogamma DIF 50 mg/ml)

10th March 2020 – 9pm
I received a phone call from Royal Brompton Hospital Immunologist Consultant, and was told to immediately isolate. Transplant treatments stopped and I was advised it is too dangerous to visit any hospital or to go outside of the home). I was advised that I would not survive Covid-19 if I were to become infected and it was unlikely that I would be offered ventilation or intensive care treatment were I to become sick.

11th March 2020
My isolation began.

painting of a figure held wihtin a circle

Deluge by Rachel Gadsden

The ambition for “Deluge” is for me to create a series of drawings and artworks and an art/sound performance in collaboration with composer/musician Freddie Meyers, violinist Emily Earl, Australian artist Jeremy Hawkes and sign performer Stacey Stockwell), which responds and reflects upon current physical & psychological issues and notions of displacement, isolation, the Covid-19 Virus pandemic, immunology and the need to remain ever hopeful.

Supporting the creation of the drawings, artwork and performance as they emerge, will be series of DAO blogs in the form of conversational sketchbook/diaries from the collaborators studios. The collaboration is keen to share the creative process of the art and sound performance and the challenges and additional demands there may be in the making of collaborative work in isolation.

I am currently working in isolation, as are so many practitioners, but for me, this current scenario adds additional space for a deeper level of inner reflection within her practice and a precious moment to let the multiple threads of the narrative to surface and become embedded within the artworks. Paradoxically the “lockdown” clearly also offers an exciting opportunity to experiment using other means of communication, instead of face to face “live” interaction, to enable the collaborators to create a dynamic collaborative performance through the use of virtual interactive processes.

For this project I am proposing to welcome and invite a virtual audience into my studio to witness the Deluge “studio” exhibition and the performance (which will be videoed) “live”, the intention is to also host the performance and exhibition through a virtual platform, not only to extend the duration of the exhibition but also to host the series of artworks, podcast, videos and performance long term.

A key member of the creative team is Stacey Stockwell who is an experienced sign language interpreter and sign performer, who will advise regarding Deaf and disability viewing access needs etc. Additionally, as a sight limited person I will be audio describing the project and adding captioning wherever necessary.

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