Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Revital Cohen, Butterflies Flying

I had an delight full experience working along side Revital Cohen as Lighting assistant and documentor for this project.


Radar presented two commissions with Jacqueline Donachie and Revital Cohen that involved a dialogue between the artists and academics based within the Department of Sport and Exercise Science. Both of the works responded in very different ways to research around improving human performance.

Butterflies Flying in Formation investigates the psychology of the elite athlete mindset, the body-mind connection, and how phobias of high level competing, which can be equally as paralysing as a physical injury, can be overcome. The work asks what kind of training equipment could make an athlete stronger, not by hardening the muscles, but through conditioning their mental state?

Researching the practices of mental toughness building and sport psychology techniques, a hypothetical training tool was designed to choreograph the body into conditioning the mind. Loosely based on the principles of samurai armour, protective and impenetrable, the object, in conjunction with the ‘scorpion’, a yoga pose which clears the mind and controls the nerves in the stomach, is put into action, triggering mirror neurons* in the brain which mentally rehearse the next moves to be made.

Revital Cohen is a designer who develops critical objects and provocative scenarios exploring the juxtaposition of the natural with the artificial. Her work spans across various mediums and includes collaborations with scientists, bioethicists and animal breeders. Recent exhibitions have included Talk To Me which is now showing at the MoMA in New York, Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal, Z33, Belgium and BIOTOPIA: Art in the Wet Zone, Urzon Center, Aalborg, Denmark. This year Revital has been given an award from the Welcome Trust.

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