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A two-year collaboration with Professor Tony Collier

Professor Tony Collier lived with Motor Neurone Disease for almost 10 years. His condition resulted in progressive and severely limited mobility; his breathing was aided by a mechanical ventilator. Tony was a talented landscape artist and living with MND called for a new approach to his practice.

Following an illness in 2016, Kate undertook a walk in which she later told Tony that her physical movement across the Earth reaffirmed her ‘existence’. There followed a discussion of artist herman de vries’ appropriation of Gassendi’s counterargument Ambulo ergo sum (I walk, therefore I am) to Descartes’ Cognito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) whereby Tony expressed I cannot walk, but I am. I walk in my mind. It was from these conversations that the concept of communicating Tony’s Mindwalks as an artform emerged.

Mindwalks are 4 experimental landscape paintings, each with a different colour palette to achieve a distinct aesthetic. Projected images, accompanied by Tony’s spoken poetry and assisted breathing, created the immersive experience Tony aspired to in his landscape paintings, and enjoyed on his Mindwalks. Layering film and sound onto everyday objects references the washes and scraped back layers of Tony’s pre-MND paintings; but also places Mindwalks within the context of living daily with severely restricted mobility.

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