Premiere of New Work by Tara Baoth Mooney, Maf'j Alvarez & Camille Baker 25th November - 2nd December 2023 NEoN Digital Arts Workshop & Event space, Unit 35, Keiller Centre, 3 Chapel Street, Dundee, DD1 1DQ Mammary Mountain is an intimate performative VR experience that explores dis-ease within the body through the experience of breast cancer. This new interactive experience tells the stories of women’s healthcare struggles, particularly on the hidden experiences of breast cancer treatment women's lived experiences have informed the works' evolution and contain stories that often go unheard.
This exhibition premiere coincides with this year's 16 days of Activism campaign. NEoN is supporting this year's 16 days of Activism campaign by presenting work and creative practices that use digital tools or comment on today’s complex digital relationships. In particular, we are interested in work that uses digital/technology-led experiences that empower women and give voice to their often hidden struggles. Mammary Mountain is a unique experience set in a doctor's office. As 'patients,' the audience wears a special haptic jacket, sits in a bespoke chair shaped like mammary glands, and uses a VR headset to experience this intimate performance. The piece is further explored through illustrations and field recordings of Tara Baoth Mooney, which were created while going through treatment. Mooney recorded the steps from the bed in her room to the radiotherapy department, recording the machines inside and the birds and water outside. These recorded sounds and drawings have been merged with the strong visual 3D landscape created by Maf’j Alvarez through VR and embodied through a garment which vibrates in areas of the body affected by pain or discomfort. The narrative framework and content development, project ideation and story editing, grant writing, community outreach and development, workshop development, staging, and promotion, as well as overall project production, has been done by Camille Baker. This VR immersive experience exposes the idea of ‘dis-ease’ within the body and the body's relationship to the broader context of the land. The artists hope this work ignites new public engagement, ultimately resulting in a more nuanced and holistic understanding of the experience. The Experience Audiences are invited to partake in bearing witness to the journey of the breast cancer experience, as narrated by survivors and patients. Within the world of Mammary Mountain, participants navigate a space that straddles perceptions of dream-like and reality. Multiple treatments and their effects on the mind and body are expanded through voices, each presenting their unique perspective. The experience is performative. Set in a doctor’s office, participants become “patients” and are fitted with a hospital gown and haptic jacket before sitting in a special chair and given a VR headset. Mammary Mountain is crafted from multiple elements. The landscape of County Sligo in Ireland’s NorthWest, where Mooney spent her time in recovery, the sounds of the machines juxtaposed with the everyday sounds of her footsteps, the environs, the sea, birds, her illustrations, the stylised 3D aesthetic created for by Maf'j Alvarez for VR, the voices of other survivors collected and incorporated into the narrative design of Camille Baker. This is embodied through a haptic garment co-designed by Sophie Skach and Mooney, which responds through vibrations triggered by the story elements. Electronic engineering is designed by Paul Hayes. The chair was designed by Leo Scarff and is made from recycled wool. The Arts Council England National Lotter Fund, Creative Leitrum and Arts Council Ireland have supported the work. Creative Scotland has supported the exhibition in Dundee. __________________________________________ TIMES: open to the public and for bookings Saturday 25th, 10 am - 4 pm Monday 27th, 12 pm - 5 pm Tuesday 28th, 12 pm - 5 pm Wednesday 29th, 1 pm - 5 pm Thursday 30th, 12 pm - 5 pm Friday 1st, 10 am - 5 pm Saturday 2nd, 10 am - 5 pm *Dates & Times are subject to change Do I have to book in advance? Walk-ins are possible if there are available sessions. However, we recommend pre-booking to avoid disappointment or long waiting times. How do I book tickets? Ticketing is done through the main project website. Follow the link for your chosen date and location, then follow the instructions to book your tickets. Do you offer facilities for disabled visitors? Mammary Mountain is an immersive audio/visual installation that uses sight, sound, and touch to convey the experience. Most visitors will be able to participate as the piece is chair-based, and we will do our best to accommodate needs on a person-by-person basis. Please email us in advance of your visit at [email protected] ACCESS: Accessibility info for the Keiller Centre can be found here. The venue has wheelchair access, the room can accommodate a wheelchair, and there is a wheelchair-accessible toilet. In addition, a hearing Induction Loop is available. Staff will be available on-site to provide support during the event. If you have any questions regarding access, please do get in touch. __________________________________________ About the Artists: Camille Baker is an interdisciplinary digital artist, curator and researcher in immersive experiences, participatory performance, VR design, interactive art, SmartFashion and e-textiles, emerging technologies, and digital art curating – across creative disciplines. Camille presented her new work INTER/her: An Intimate Journey Inside the Female Body, with NEoN Digital Arts as part of its festival in 2021. INTER/her takes Camille's personal experience and those of other women who have had post-reproductive diseases and pain to create a Virtual Reality, sound, and haptic*, fully immersive artwork. The work explores the psychological issues of womanhood and the sense of self. INTER/her is based on Camille's experience and journey through the healthcare system while she was treated for a post-reproductive disease in 2016. The ideas and development of this work, Mammary Mountain, emanate from experiencing women’s silence, conflicting information, and inconsistencies in support for women’s health. INTER/her has been touring the UK and Canada since June 2021 and was LUMEN Prize 2021 shortlisted. Tara Baoth Mooney is an interdisciplinary artist whose work responds to past and present events that explore lived experience and the interrelationship of people with daily rituals, plants, nonhuman life forms, and objects within their respective ecologies and practices. The work encompasses sound, performance, drawing, and video and is often site-specific. Tara’s work meanders between foundations of meaning-making in context, current social constructive elements where self and meaning sit in a situation or place, and the interruption of self and unmaking of meaning through the destruction of place. Mooney has an ongoing interest in the compulsion for people to make meaning through rituals and practices such as telling stories, singing, keeping and caring for cherished objects etc. The 2009 project ‘Diary of Our Daily Threads’, explored loss and grief through textiles, stories and sound. Recently, she completed time as artist in residence at the Hawkswell Sligo, where she was exploring women’s work and fowl-rearing practices using the egg as a subversive women's currency. The Arts Council Agility Award and The Hawkswell Theatre supported this project. It began with recordings of women telling their stories and will be staged as a music and site-specific movement piece in Aug 2024. She is a member of the ”^”, The rural-based art collective in Manorhamilton Co. Leitrim, and is a studio holder at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Tara works in collaboration with The Clumsy Giantess. This shadow persona enables her to engage with her Arts practice in a way that offers new perspectives on engaging with the world around her. In 2021, she completed an Art-based research PhD, which focused on the relationship between people, lived experience, music and garments within an eco-psychosocial framework. Her work has brought her from performing as a puppet character with the Jim Henson Studio in New York to the heart of sustainable fashion and textiles in China, Bangladesh and India. Tara has just completed a year-long Creative Exchange at The Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Maf’j Alvarez is a digital media artist and creative technologist living in Brighton, UK. Her work focuses on ecology, cultural and gender diversity concerning open access to technology. She also works as a user experience designer on large-scale digital transformation projects for government services. Maf’j has a BA in Interactive Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University (1998) and an MA in Digital Media Arts from Brighton University and Lighthouse (2015). She has been a resident artist at Fusebox Brighton since 2017, where she began working with virtual reality using Unity3d. She has helped other women learn VR through hack days, mentoring, talks, and collaborations. Past work includes the interactive installation “Stroke”, which was shortlisted for funding by the Wellcome Trust’s SciArt initiative and shown at ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Arts), and “Softworld”, an interactive modular textile installation that encourages collaboration and shown at The Lowry. Recent work includes the VR experience “INTER/her” with artist Camille Baker on reproductive system illness and “Eva Quantica,” commissioned by the National Gallery X and shown at Brighton Festival. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maf’j founded Inkibit Immersive, which aims to support women and other marginalized immersive tech creatives to democratize technology for the cultural and arts sector. She runs workshops, talks, hack-jams, and mentoring sessions and participates in programs focused on early-stage prototyping in immersive arts. __________________________________________ NOTES: The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international civil society-led annual campaign. It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day, indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide. It was originated by activists at the inaugural Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG). Every year, the UNITE Campaign focuses on a specific theme and this year’s is “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. For services available to women in Dundee: Violence Against Women Services for Vulnerable Women Booklet 2022 Gender-based violence refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, power abuse, and harmful norms. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and protection issue. It is estimated that one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. During displacement and times of crisis, the threat of GBV significantly increases for women and girls. CANDU (Dundee Cancer Support Network) - CANDU are a group of patients and survivors who are passionate about placing the patient at the heart of service design and delivery in cancer care and treatment.