The exhibition is a multichannel video installation presenting therapeutic environments and various applications in the medical world – an empty OR, ready for action, a closeup shot of a simulated surgery on a grape, executed by a robot, roaming the hyperbaric unit, moving across corridors that hold the gateways into a fantastical utopia – and the exits from it. All these operate within an enclosed, circuitous space, one promising physical recuperation and concluding with an outer-body experience. A mystical transcendence found within surgical intervention.
Yet, as our stay here is protracted, so does the promise of the body’s expansion become ever-more disturbing. It threatens to deteriorate into the truly terrifying. The moving hospital images encircle us without a single figure to latch onto or identify with, making the absence of the body and generally transparent practices exquisitely evident: management, control, and force over the individual body.
As the hospital is a naturally delineated ecological system, a warren of corridors and passageways from the moment you enter until it ejects you out, so is the gallery divided into various transitional spaces. The outcome simulates the movement in a hospital structure: a place of pain without memory, a self-enclosed autonomous space functioning according to a codex of rules and regulations.
The sound accompanying the entire installation, and particularly Vardi’s use of low frequencies – often on the very edge of human hearing – is enhanced when faced with the double video of the hyperbaric unit. The sound reverberates from the walls and compresses the air. It’s physical impact batters the human body, seemingly replacing the heightened oxygen pressure. The sensory overload sends vibrations throughout the body, a subtle reminder of mechanical violence.