Blood: Attract and Repel (An exhibition)

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Poster from Science Gallery Melbourne

Blood: Attract and Repel is an exhibition by Science Gallery Melbourne that runs until 23 Septermber 2017 at Melbourne University. It’s held at the Science Gallery, which is at the Frank Tate Building and is free to view.


Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome portrayed in candy…mmmm…

This exhibition is honestly like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s a scientific topic that has been presented in an incredibly artistic way and explores why we as humans are both so attracted and repelled by blood. There are 22 artworks on display, from the bloody candy art in the photo above to a compass needle made out of the iron from 69 placentas. There is even an actual placenta of twins on display. Of course as a mum I thoroughly enjoyed the placenta art. There is even a video showing you how the compass needle was made. If you’re afraid of seeing fresh blood, look away though. Someone I know once described the placenta as a “bloody sting ray”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description.


In the photo above, Miss 4.5 is with an installation featuring tiny white porcelain pebbles that represent white blood cells. In a single drop of healthy blood there are roughly 20,000 white blood cells. The installation started with 20,000 pebbles but visitors are able to take some home if they make a donation that goes towards the National Breast Cancer Association (the artist’s mother had breast cancer). The dropping number of pebbles represent how the white blood cell count drops with chemotherapy. I found the concept really moving.

The exhibition explores six key subthemes: taboo, stigma, identity, giving, health and future. It was enjoyable and thought-provoking. It definitely exceeded my expectations. I am a Melbourne University alumni and was part of a dance club and we actually used to have dance rehearsals in the Frank Tate Building (it’s where I met my husband!). I couldn’t imagine how they would set up the exhibition in there but they really managed to transform it beyond my imagination. Even Miss 4.5 thoroughly enjoyed it all, but granted, she is exposed to a lot of medical talk through my paramedic husband. Miss 1.5 didn’t give a hoot of course so I had to nurse her in the carrier throughout most of it to keep her happy and prevent her from destroying everything.

So if you are childless or have older kids who enjoy medical topics and are in the city, drop by Melbourne University and have your perceptions challenged. It’s free, after all!

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