I come to this project with a lot of questions and curiosity. Every conversation | have with others in the research team seems to throw up new knowledge and to shift my thinking. My background is in performance art (as an artist as well as a researcher), in a practice driven by explorations of ritual, of intersubjectivity and of what bodies can do. My research is practice-led, that is to say it concerns knowledge that comes into being through doing, through what Bolt calls “material thinking”, involving “a particular responsiveness to or conjunction with the intelligence of the materials and processes in practice.” (30)
Materiality and process are key to a lot of the work that I do, as is collaboration: collaborating with other academics, other artists, with community and research participants and with organisations. I’m interested in collaboration in a formal sense, but also in the less distinct relationships of meaning making that exist when people come together to view or participate in an artwork (and follow a Barthesian understanding of a text being realised in its encounter with a reader / viewer). A lot of my work is experimental, I don’t know what outcomes will be or even (often, what the reason for doing it is), until after I’ve made an artwork or event. We find out together.
Some of my early artwork, after my MA and in the first couple of years of my PhD was concerned with becoming-animal, with Deleuzo-Guattarian ideas around intersubjectivity and the (non)human. Working with AMR brings me back to some of this, to questions of the agency of microscopic life and our close but peculiarly performed relationship with it. Early meetings with Sandra, Jacqui and Lisette really opened up my eyes to the life of microbes, and to how utterly crucial their presence (or absence) is in healthcare settings. As someone who very rarely visits hospitals, the layers of knowledges, practices, rituals and routines around hand hygiene were a whole new world to me.
In this project, I’m interested in the agency of microbes and in how healthcare workers visualise and perform their own relationship to them. I’m interested in how nurses’ bodies relate to the human and nonhuman life of their patients’ bodies and environments, in how practices of cleaning, protecting, touching and not touching, perform different bodies and relationships. I’m also interested in finding out more about engineering approaches, in how the use of imaging technology might translate the movement of living things (both nurses’ bodies and microbes) into points on a heat or vector map.
What lies ahead is an exciting – if challenging – process of dialogue and exchange across disciplinary practices and languages. I’m confident that this pump priming project will broaden the team’s understanding of AMR and bring us novel practices and knowledges towards improving infection prevention.
Barrett. E. and Bolt, B. (eds) (2014), Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, I.B.Tauris