We always hear about how we live in a ‘throw away’ society; well this also applies to our bodies; after death in western countries most of us are placed in a variously ornate chipboard coffin and then blasted to a cinder. Things are changing, there are now a growing number of options for eco burials in woodlands etc with biodegradable coffins. What we don’t tend to think about is the increasing amount of discarded body parts being produced as a result of various surgical procedures, childbirth produces placenta, surgical operations replacing worn out parts include hearts, kidneys and joints. Cosmetic surgery is on the increase; apparently a record rise in ‘man boob’ operations up by nearly a third in the UK. All that adipose tissue from hips and tummies is duly thrown away.
It’s now been a few weeks since the opening of Gina Czarnecki’s retrospective at the Bluecoat in Liverpool. The show comprises a number of Gina’s works focussing on biomedical topics over the past 10 years. The most recent work is a series of sculptures collectively called ‘Wasted’. There has been a fair amount of coverage [links below] about ‘toothpalace’ sculpture made from kids donated milkteeth and the ideas behind using stem cells in biomedicine. Here I am writing about a related project that I was involved in called ‘Trophies of Empire’.