A system, material and process relevant to medicalised death in ICU is the supply chain of blood, blood products and body parts. This current series of works is a speculation about the possibility of this supply chain in a medical setting being a “fee for service”, where supply is ensured by farming humans. It focuses on the conflict between the idea that each person is an individual and yet each one can also be considered as an interchangeable unit of economic production within an agricultural model.
This diorama is one of a set of ten looking at the processes of extracting a saleable product in a similar way to milking: from a live producer, cow, or human. The power structure is revealed initially in the first of the series by a formal portrait setting of the overseers in dress uniform, through the medical support staff who have no feasible defence for their actions, and then a series of small vignettes is populated by figurines representing the producers of blood housed among the clunky industrialisation of farming. The dioramas are charming. Each small figurine asserts their own agency, their own individuality, and yet the producers stand in their own stall, waiting to be milked. In the real world these figurines are mass-produced, each very much like the other, each almost infinitely replaceable.
– Fiona Davies