I am the Future – at the Wellcome Collection Reading Room

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Part of  “What is potential? – Exploring Aristotle, Art and Medicine”  at the Wellcome Collection Reading Room, 10 October 2015, 13.00–18.00

During a 5-hour event that also included a dozen other art and non art presentations I had engaged three actors who performed both trivial and slightly odd activities. The performers were dressed and acted as if the were invigilators at the exhibition. However, the strange deviance of their activities was conceived to draw the curiosity in the visitor and lure them into looking at the red-painted stools the performers were sitting on. When the actors were approached by members of the audience, they got up to reveal a mirror where texts were written:

- “I am the future. Do you think that tomorrow’s science will be able to reduce our experience of pain when we are unwell? If so, what will be the implications of this reduced suffering for healthcare and peoples’ lives?”
- “I am the future. Does having faith in the capacity of a doctor affect the healing process? If so, can science make use of this confidence?”
- “I am the future. What role do you think food will play in tomorrow’s healing? Will hospitals soon host high quality restaurants that serve carefully prepared food at low cost in order to support the healing process?”

The performance was set in the Reading Room of the Wellcome collection, a museum in London, displaying an unusual mixture of medical artefacts and original artworks exploring ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art. The venue is advertised as “the free destination for the incurably curious,” the texts were conceived to entice the audience to dwell upon the role of well-being in the future. The Reading Room is divided into ten sections with different themes. The actors were sitting in the “food,” “pain” and “faith” sections and each text was written to connect to the content of the section.

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A special thank you to Dee Cannon, Stuart McMillan, Flaviana Cruz Clark and Laurie Duncan.

Photographs courtesy of the Wellcome Collection