marking the transition: arts & healthcare
(Design, Public Art)


"Amidst all the discussions of heating pipes and suspended ceilings the art is a real breath of fresh air."

Dr Ian Garbutt 14 Jul 2004


marking the transition, public art, arts & healthcare, site-responsive, InSites, architectural glass, aquarium, poetry, text, interactive, sensor-led, lighting, design, visualisation of data, photography, wheatgrass, participatory, language




Creative Commons License


Aquarium with text

The 'art wall' in the new surgery houses a 2.5m long aquarium- a large-scale contemplative and aesthetic re-invention of the much loved fish tank at the former surgery in Dean Lane.

This is the hearth of the waiting area, its? flame being a real time display of bubbles which act as natural lenses to changeable texts generated through poetry workshops led by Mac Dunlop

The monitor display is incorporated within the background image of the tank, and is connected to a camera receiving live images from a specially designed bubble apparatus.

text bubbles

text bubbles (1.2MB)

aquarium monitor display

The inclusion of live input via the 'bubble apparatus' was inspired by wanting to move beyond 'text' as inscribed 'surface' eg. written / carved / image 2D or 3D work.

In terms of a 'permanent' public artwork, a potential for change is introduced, pertinent to future participatory activities.

The 'aquascape' houses a bed of quartz, citrine and amethyst crystal, interspersed with specially commissioned blown glass by artist Sue Nixon

These glass / text spheres sit on a bed of natural crushed coral and tufa rock resonating with the monitor display of poetry bubbles.

The aquarium is stocked with approx 40 varying species of Lake Malaw Cichlids.

Crystals and Fossils UK

update Oct 2007
I secured funding to hold some arts sessions for patients. I called them "Never too late to create" and aimed them at older patients with anxiety, depression and/or social isolation. They've been running really well since May 07 (led by artist Eleanor Glover and poet Claire Williamson) and this 'term' they're writing poetry and extracts will be used in the fish tank word bubble. So our goal of using the word bubble for continuing creative expression from patients has been achieved. Dr Gillian Rice.


for further information see PDF(s) :


 aquarium (552KB)


 aquarium project details


interfaces of location and memory