Bioethics Blogs

The Boundary That Holds Its Own Narrative by Clare Twomey

We built a sculpture to physically and visually discuss boundary and immunity. As a conscious act of investigation for two days we instigated a physical boundary. The sculpture was built on a stairway, it is a complex place, it is our main route through the building.

We covered the stair in a fine white talcum powder. At first it was beautiful in its purity, in its untouched status.

As we altered this state of beauty by walking around the building, continuing our activities, the powder changed the area around the stair, creating trails. These became a visual demonstration of how the journey of each person was taken, it became mapped out clearly on the floor. This process made the unconscious conscious.

The powder was beautiful when we controlled it, at the start of the sculptural journey. It lay flat and received the light, it highlighted the architecture of the stair. As the powder was walked upon, it traced the journey of the person who walked upon it, it displayed and gave visual responsibility to all actions, and the powder became a burden. The boundary we created became a burden to all of the participants.

walking 1                        walking 2                        walking 3

The boundary stopped being crisp and contained neatly on the stair, it spread out and become vague and unleashed. The powder showed clear every journey, it made heavy each journey. Each action/journey became a difficult burden, not a joyous enterprise.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.