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The Velocity of Drops: Operating Theatre 2003

Christine Borland (born 1965, Darvel, Scotland, UK)

The Velocity of Drops, a series of photographic works, were inspired by Christine Borlandís 2003 residency at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute off the West Coast. Mount Stuart is the residence of the Stuart family, descendants of Robert the Bruce, and successive Stewards and Marquesses of Bute since the 13th Century. This 19th century gothic mansion was built to replace the old house destroyed by fire in 1877. During World War I the estate was offered by the Stuart family for use as a naval field hospital and received casualties from sea battles. Borlandís original impetus for this series of photographs was based on the exploration of forensic detection techniques where drops and splashes of blood left at crime scenes are measured and analysed in the hope they can assist in the reconstruction of an incident or a crime. Both The Velocity of Drops: Middle Ward and The Velocity of Drops: Operating Theatre depict a watermelon that has been dropped and shattered into several pieces in various locations in the stately house. The crushed watermelons become a visual metaphor for physical trauma and the vulnerability of the human form. Looking at the fragmented red pulp and the spillage of pink juice the viewer wonders at the kind of injuries treated in this most bizarre of hospitals. Each photograph in this series is named according to the locationís wartime use, such as the conservatory turned into the operating theatre and the main entrance hall transformed into the middle ward. Borland recovers this history through the titles of her photographs.

Acquisition Details

Acquired from Lisson Gallery, london, 2004
Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland which was originated and operated 2003-2006 by the Contemporary Art Society and supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.
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