The VOIDThe VOID


One of the earliest experiments we developed, this project was a multi-faceted exploration of the concept of Self-Experimentation, and the role the body plays as an experimental site for art. Originally funded through a residency at the National Institute of Medical Research, the project was developed under the title "Lets Experiment with Ourselves" and was realised publicly in four venues.

The experiment draws upon Yves Kleins 1958 exhibition "Le Vide" (The Void) at which as an aside, visitors were given a cocktail during the opening, which had a curious side effect on the unsuspecting audience - turning their pee blue. Developed into a clinical trial, the project was rejected for development by NIMR Ethics Committee, before being realised as an experiment in a gallery / art context.

The experiment format varied, but utilised a method through which the audience were invited to receive a limited edition artwork - a pill in a box. The audience made a personal and informed decision as to whether the pill should be consumed or kept for posperity. Far from spectacle, any effects of the experiment were personal, producing an effect most unlikely to be shared anywhere except in a public urinal.

The experiment, from which Truth Serum developed, remained grounded in the question to what extent would the audience become a site for an artwork? Moving beyond the simple aesthetics of the particpatory object or space, the enquiry became scalar, drawing attention to the ways in which a molecular or clinical form of experience is developed, and the power relations that exist between art and sciencetific methodology, and risk in relation to the audience and the artist as a producer of spectacle.

Liz Pee