JONATHAN ARMOUR & RICHARD SAWDON SMITH
'lnSideShow· a new work progressing from existing collaborative project between Jonathan Armour and Richard Sawdon Smith, which in 2016 created the film "Infinite Surface". Playing on the idea of the carnival sideshow, the installation work explores the stigma associated with living with HIV by "challenging" the visitor to step inside (via virtual reality) the body of an HIV infected person (not an avatar). who diagnosed in 1994 has an undetectable viral load since starting medication in 2005.
VR connects with 18 to 30 year olds already familiar with games and digital media, and hopefully in a surprising way, this work helps to challenge their perceptions and create discussions that combat prejudice against testing for HIV, caused by the stigma of how people might be treated by their communities.
Jonathan Armour's practice is an experimental exploration of man's body-surface and probes the interfaces with which that body connects with the world. The work is driven by interaction with others, jointly questioning aspects of our multiple selves and uses a range of analogue and digital photographic technologies. Jonathan uses the term 'Theatre of Selfs" because his practice is a dialogue with his collaborators, which is about aspects of them, but which he is using to explore or confront aspects of himself.
Richard Sawdon Smith's practice is an investigation into representations of living with HIV through a series of photographs. With The Anatomical Man, anatomical drawings of veins and arteries were tattooed onto his skin, a similar process of using a needle that draws blood. The work creates a relationship between the permanent marking of the body by a process that draws blood and an incurable illness transmitted through blood, collapsing the internal and external on to the surface of the skin.