CASEBOOKS: Six contemporary artists and an extraordinary medical archive
Jasmina Cibic, Federico Díaz, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rémy Markowitsch, Lindsay Seers, Tunga
17 March - 23 April 2017
Private view: Thursday 16 March 6:30 - 8:30pm
Opening hours: Tue - Fri 11am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 12pm - 6pm. Closed Mondays.
Please note that the exhibition will also be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. The exhibition will be open as normal on Easter Saturday and Sunday.
Ambika P3 and the Casebooks Project at the University of Cambridge present CASEBOOKS, a major exhibition engaging with one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. International contemporary artists Jasmina Cibic, Federico Díaz, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rémy Markowitsch, Lindsay Seers and Tunga bring a diverse and radical range of practices to bear on the work of the Casebooks Project, which is editing the manuscripts of two seventeenth-century English astrologer-physicians Simon Forman and his protégé Richard Napier. The manuscripts document some 80,000 medical consultations, and are testament to the preoccupations of patients with questions of health, disease, fertility, stability and their place within wider natural and supernatural schemes.
CASEBOOKS presents six new works spanning sculpture, video and audio installation, live performance, robotics and artificial intelligence. The Casebooks Project worked closely with each artist to establish resonances between the artists’ own work and historically acute questions about the nature of the casebooks, the kind of medical practice they represented and their significance for our understanding of medicine and natural knowledge. Ambika P3 engaged in a curatorial dialogue with each artists to encourage both an encounter with its vast post industrial space and the use of an original and complementary ecology of media.
Jasmina Cibic’s new work, Unforseen Foreseens, is a site-specific 12m long corridor installation fusing sculpture and performance, and alluding to the relationships between astrology, power and architecture. Federico Díaz is presenting a trade fair booth of a fictional initiative BIG LIGHT, offering a glimpse into a possible future of merging biological and technological scientific progress with social changes through augmented techno-shamanistic rituals. Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Real-Fiction Botnik is a 3D holographic Artificial Intelligence bot with a brain shaped by seventeenth-century astrological consultations, who is able to offer on-the-spot personal predictions. The Casebooks Calf by Rémy Markowitsch is a large-scale sculpture of a calf made of the same calfskin as the bindings of the casebooks, and from which emanate readings selected from the original seventeenth-century consultations. Seers’ work Mental Metal considers, through Simon Forman's writings, how elements of contemporary life have passed beyond causal, materialist/mechanistic Newtonian concepts to quantum speculations that have a hint of the supernatural about them. Following a method of correspondences as Forman did in his astral cosmology Seers' work is also shaped by affinities and Neoplatonic ideals of unification. Me, You and the Moon, a recent work chosen for the exhibition by the late artist Tunga, is a monolithic sculptural constellation of clay, rock and organic materials symbolising alchemy, astrology and the senses.
Performances times for Jasmina Cibic's Unforseen Forseens and Federico Díaz's Big Light are:
3pm - 6pm
18, 19, 25, 26 March
1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 April
5pm - 7pm
CASEBOOKS is curated by Dr Michael Mazière and is a collaboration between the Casebooks Project, Ambika P3, and the artists. The Casebooks side of the collaboration has been led by Dr Lauren Kassell, Director of the Casebooks Project and Dr Natalie Kaoukji, Research Fellow at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge.
CASEBOOKS is supported by a Wellcome Trust Provision for Public Engagement, with additional funding from the University of Westminster; Pro Helvetia; Czech Centre London; Pembroke College, Cambridge; Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge. Simon
Friday 17 March, 4pm - Artist and Curator Seminar
Artist and Curator Seminar chaired by Lauren Kassell.
Free to attend, places limited. To reserve a place, please visit Eventbrite
Wednesday 29 March, 6:30pm - Artist Talk
CASEBOOKS artist Jasmina Cibic, winner of the MAC International Ulster Bank Art Prize 2016 who represented Slovenia at the 55th Venice Biennial presents her new work ‘Unforseen Foreseens’ inspired by the Casebooks which examines the relationship between astrology, power and prophecy. Followed by the artist in conversation with Dr Michael Maziere, Reader at the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design and Curator of the Casebooks exhibition.
Wednesday 5 April, 6:30pm - Exhibition Talk
Alanna Heiss, Olivia Laing and Lauren Kassell discuss CASEBOOKS, followed by drinks. Alanna Heiss is Founder and Director of Clocktower Productions and was Founder and Director of MOMA PS1 (formerly PS1 Contemporary Art Centre) from 1978 to 2008. She has curated more than 700 exhibitions at PS1 in art spaces around the world. She chaired the CASEBOOKS Curatorial Advisory Committee. Olivia Laing writes on art and culture for Frieze, the Guardian and the New York Times, and is the author of three acclaimed books, including The Lonely City. Lauren Kassell is Reader in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Cambridge. She directs the Casebooks Project, and is the force behind this exhibition.
Free to attend, booking essential. To reserve a place, please visit Eventbrite
Wednesday 22 March, 4-6pm
Saturday 8 April, 2-4pm Free, book a place here
Casebooks Clinics - The Casebooks Project is holding two ‘clinics’ offering help reading and understanding Simon Forman’s and Richard Napier’s casebooks. Forman and Napier recorded 80,000 consultations in messy handwriting and astrological notation between 1596 and 1634. Topics in the cases include health and illness, emotions, marriage, sex, witchcraft, dreams, the weather, voyages, theft and treasure. There is something for everyone, from apples to wrestling.
Please bring a laptop and a brief list of cases of interest. These can be found by searching the casebooks project website. See also the guide to searching and list of topics. We welcome inquiries and feedback even if you cannot attend the clinics.