The Veins of a Slack Rope Dancer

Scarificator c.1800

Commissioned by the Thackray Medical Museum, this sound collage is inspired by the ancient medicine medical practice of bloodletting and the belief that bodily fluids, such as blood, were “humors” that had to stay needed to be kept in balance to maintain health.     

The scarificator bloodletting device is the main source of inspiration – a small brass box with lancets operated by a spring-released trigger.  This box has a sense of sinister allure, gothic beauty and craftsmanship.  It could easily be mistaken for an antique music box, such as the enchanting Slack Rope Dancer.  

The dreamlike audio arrangements in this piece reflect the precarious and sinister nature of bloodletting contrasted with the visual elegance of the scarificator.  Remixing audio samples from other medical objects together with music box tunes creates a wonderful nightmarish ambience.