Louise K Wilson
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On the Physiology of Immersion | 1999

A video installation and web site commissioned by DA2/ Bath Festivals Trust for 'Submerged', four site-specific multi-media installations for the disused Old Royal Baths, Bath. 'On the Physiology of Immersion' used archive images of bathers as a starting point to explore notions of survival and the continued association between magic, amnesia and the moving image.

In one of the old treatment rooms, a video was projected onto a tiled wall. It depicted an illusory act, that of a 'suspended' older woman (my mother) staged by a magician. This had been specially performed at the Magic Circle in London and filmed from an aerial and adjacent viewpoint. A rope of white light illuminated the submerged stairwell - which originally linked this treatment room with the pool. 

Sounds of exertion from swimming underwater linked the video projection with footage on a tiny suspended monitor in another treatment room. The monitor was suspended from an overhead metal gantry - the means by which patients were once lowered into the spa waters. It displayed footage from a recent experimental study into survival research conducted by the Institute of Naval Medicine (a swim failure trial in cold water).

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