We’re currently working to improve this section of the website. In the meantime, please see the blog on our homepage (contains some posts about workshops and rehearsals) and below for a time line for the early research and development stages of the bloodlines project.
2005: Milton’s sound composition ‘BloodLines’ released.
Milton created this track during his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, by ‘sonifying’ his daily blood cell counts over a period of months. The resulting track seems to capture something of the embodied experience of the disease. The desire to embody rather than represent physiological experience was one of the aims of the bloodlines project as it developed into a performance.
February-March 2011: the appliance of science
Alex and Milton led a 5-week workshop with dance and drama students at Kingston University, which culminated in a Research Presentation to invited practitioners and academics. The workshop addressed the following questions: what is the dramaturgy of disease and treatment? what creative strategies and compositional principles can be usefully shared between a composer and a theatre-maker? An example of work produced by students in response to these questions can be seen here and is discussed in Mermikides, Alex, ‘The Appliance of Science: Devising, Dramaturgy and the Alternative Science Play’ in Trencsenyi, Katalin and Bernadette Cochrane (eds) New Dramaturgy: International Perspectives Methuen (2013)
July 2012: a haematologist in the rehearsal room
Dr Ann Van de Velde joins us in a practical workshop at Kingston University on the subject of HLA testing (a test to ascertain whether prospective bone marrow donors and recipients are genetically compatible enough for the transplant to go ahead). We open by each giving a 20 minute presentation based on our own understanding and experience of this subject. On the second day, we ask how this subject might be represented through lecture-presentation, sonically and through performance. We test the principle of using accounts by donors and recipients of donation as part of the Bloodlines performance. This workshop is mentioned in Mermikides, Alex, ‘The Scientist Center Stage’ in Nature Immunology (2013)
Ann’s lecture on HLA testing.
Alex gave a performance that used verbatim accounts of donors and recipients discussing the matching process. Snippets of donor and recipient accounts were ‘matched’ through a random system.
Milton demonstrated principles of serial music in which musical phrases fell in and out of ‘sync’.
A workshop with Ann, Milton, Anna and Alex engages with the subject of haematopoiesis (the formation of blood cells in the bone marrow) and it’s disruption in the case of ALL. We ask how these complex microscopic processes might be represented sonically, visually and verbally.
Dramaturgs’ Network Lab: Alex and Ann present the project and lead a practical workshop for members of the Dramaturgs’ Network. The workshop invites participants to respond creatively to medical images that represent the body at different levels of magnification, for example chest x-rays, pelvic CT scans, skin cells, chromosomes. We note that higher levels of magnification tend to lead us towards metaphor, and the differing ‘gaze’ of medical and ‘lay’ participants.
Bloodlines and Butoh: P. Solomon Lennox (University of Exeter) leads a side-project exploring ‘BloodLines’ through Butoh. The performers are Takehiro Kawase, and I-Lien Ho.