An interdisciplinary performance project, 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 research 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. 

Bringing to life the challenges of the simulation centre

Eidolon is led by Beverley Hood, a media artist, researcher and lecturer in the School of Design.

She says…

I am approaching this project as an artist and creative practitioner, not as a roboticist or engineer. My interest is not in the technology itself but in its affective potential and implications.

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?”

Photo of a performance in a simulation centre
Image courtesy of Lindsay Perth
Eidolon brings the general public into a unique space within the NHS

“I am approaching this project as an artist and creative practitioner. My interest is not in the technology itself but in its affective potential and implications. It is my intention to question head on, to embrace and bring to life the challenges the simulation centre presents." 

Beverley Hood, Principal Investigator

The active role of the audience

Eidolon brings the general public into a unique space within the NHS, one normally only visited by medical professionals. Split into two groups, visitors are active contributors to the performance activities, rather than mere observers, coming together at the end to share their experiences. 

Audiences were first introduced to the project after a year of site-based research with clinicians and performers. Free performances-in-progress took place at the SCSCHF in December 2014, March and July 2015, and April 2016. 

The final performances were 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.

There were two further performances at the Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors, Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, on Sunday 9th October 2016 and, later that month, 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.

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.
 

360-degree video experience


The final part of Eidolon is now underway, comprising a 360-degree video experience of the story of manikin, Resusci Anne, for interaction through Virtual Reality headsets. Eidolon360 will be premiered in the British HCI: Interactions Gallery at the University of Sunderland from 3rd - 6th July 2017.

Eidolon was devised in collaboration with actors Pauline Goldsmith, Stanley Pattison and Magnus Sinding, dancer Freya Jeffs, and dramaturg Jeremy Weller. The 360-degree video experience is being developed in collaboration with Tom Flint, Programme Director for Digital Media and Interaction Design at Ediburgh Napier University.

 

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