RELAX Digital 2021 Artists

At CW+, we work with a range of art forms, including digital, visual and performing arts with innovative design, to transform the hospital experience and environment for patients, their families and the staff who care for them.

Calming imagery and music has been shown to reduce the anxiety of those using waiting areas. It decreases pulse rate, respiratory rate, metabolic rate, oxygen consumption and blood pressure, as well as reducing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and instead increasing immune response.

Following the success of our CW+ RELAX Digital Programme, including our work with film maker James Hope Faulkner and artists Kit Mead and Eda Sarman from the Royal College of Art, we released a call-out to commission a further selection of artists and film makers. The brief for this call-out was to produce content for our RELAX playlists, which are displayed 24 hours in waiting areas, clinical spaces and patient rooms.

We have now installed new films in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by seven new artists. Here is a sneak preview of their films, and an insight into their creative process.

Sara Choudhrey, Cascade

Sara Choudhrey is a London-based artist and researcher, using an investigative process to explore themes of space and place through shapes and pattern.

Sara’s practice involves the construction and application of patterns using a variety of media, where geometry and natural forms become reference points to site-specific locations around the world. Sara is interested in human engagement with these spaces, both natural and man-made, and considers their impact on each other beyond a specific time and place. Pursuing the concept of continuity, Sara has conducted practice-led research on visual culture from medieval Spain and Portugal, Mughal era sites in Pakistan and Islamic art in the British Arts & Crafts Movement.

Cascade is a vector animation, presenting a geometric composition reminiscent of Islamic visual arts, with floral motifs and line-work based on an isometric grid. The composition is displayed in alternating, undulating form, at sparing moments almost static, indicating the unity of the polygonal structure and the sub-divided shapes. The shapes fit together in mathematical harmony and are dispersed with soft petals, referencing a contrasting organic matter.

The subtle motion and play of light and colour are designed to evoke a sense of cascading or floating through an unrestricted space, a relaxing, quiet, unfixed domain. Semitransparent shapes move in close and expanded proximity, overlapping, moving along various axis, with no implied bounds. They are then brought back together by an invisible connection, demonstrating a collective unity.

Jakub Špaček, Bloom

Jakub Špaček is a Czech visual effects artist, now based in London. Jakub has expanded his artistic perception, developing deep passion for simulating abstract visions of real world phenomenon focusing on even the smallest subtleties of shape and motion. He explores how we can truly enjoy this vision by composing immersive, pleasing, and meditative content.

Bloom is a digital animation of a flower transforming, growing, blooming and reversing to its initial state. This film is the first of an ongoing collaboration with Jakub.

Eda Sarman, Spring’s Arrival Wrapped the Earth with Mutation

Eda Sarman previously created Favourite Colour  for RELAX digital. She is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Istanbul, whose practice evolves on the intersection of architecture, phenomenology and tentacular thinking.

During the Ottoman Empire’s Tulip Age, the palace consumed large amounts of its resources and attention on this flower. This period is known to have marked the beginning of the Empire’s fall. This extravagant ideal travelled to other cultures, in 1637 at the peak of the Dutch Tulip Mania, a single bulb was worth ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. After centuries, this flower still retains its luxurious status, becoming the ultimate tourist destination to observe the ‘beauty of nature’ unfold.

Spring’s Arrival Wrapped the Earth with Mutation takes the spectator on an intimate and immersive stroll around Istanbul’s Emirgan Park during 2020s deserted Tulip Festival. Produced in Spring, Eda documents nature blossoming in a chaotic moment when humans are locked inside due to nature’s unpredictable alteration of the world.

Morgan Beringer, Seasonal

Morgan Beringer is an American born video artist based in London, UK since 2003. He began his art practice in 1998 via the mediums of drawing and printmaking before gaining a degree in the expanded field of painting at Wimbledon College of Art in 2003. Here, Morgan found his concern with the unexplored spaces between still and moving images. The expressive possibilities therein inspired an ongoing opus of 64 abstract films that continue to expand his distinct perspective upon the medium.

The majority of Morgan’s work is created through temporally stretching apart the spaces between sequences of still images to reveal surprising connections and juxtapositions. As this process is often experimental with somewhat unpredictable outcomes, the more inspiring results are then collected and further refined into presentable forms that highlight these revelations.

Morgan’s abstract videos delight in teasing the point at which one form becomes another, playing with the mind’s inherent desire to draw solid lines and form concrete meanings. To emphasise the value of re-examining our definitions and the steps we have taken to arrive at them.

Seasonal is an hour-long ambient video work that gradually cycles through landscapes and textures representing each of the four seasons, becoming something of an abstract clock. It is intended to invite reflection upon how we perceive and delineate the passage of time, and the manner in which we define or symbolically represent the seasons.

Owen Diplock, Sunrises

Owen Diplock is a freelance filmmaker based in London, whose work concentrates on observation and objectivity; he enjoys the unpredictability of documentary filmmaking and works best while thinking on his feet. He has shot alongside Raindance and Emmy Award winning filmmakers, and screened films at festivals throughout the UK and internationally – with a handful collecting awards on their travels.

“For wherever the sun rises and sets, in the city’s turmoil or under the open sky on the farm, life is much the same; sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.” – Opening title card from F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Sunrise is a singular time of day. Elusive to many, but to those that do see it: do they truly take the time to marvel at its full magnificence? Arguably, a brief glance out of the kitchen window over a morning coffee, or glimpses between high rise buildings from a packed train carriage are hardly enough to properly take it in.

Owen attempts to redress this with a series of elegantly-captured films of the Spring sunrise unfolding in real time. Shot at various pastoral locations across Hertfordshire, these meditative and visually-arresting films were as calming and restorative to create as they are to watch. Take a moment out of your day to observe this remarkable everyday occurrence in maximum detail and without interruption.

Paola Estrella, Synchronicity

Paola Estrella is a multimedia artist born in Mexico City and based in London. She has a master’s degree in contemporary art from the Royal College of Art and studied art direction and mixed media at Central Saint Martins, London, UK.

Paola’s practice is about intimacy, desire, and becoming. Auto-fiction, magic realism, and story-telling are central to her work which involves self-reflection, collaboration with other creators, and worldbuilding. During her creative process, she combines mixed media, video, and performance, which often result in video installations.

Synchronicity explores the entanglement between performance, meditation, and film. Through a process in which the artist connects with the beauty that can be found in the process of transformation, she practiced a series of movements across natural landscapes in the South of England. By observing the relationship between the body of the performer and elements such as plants, flowers, and water, this work aims to open a space to unwind.

Fraser Morton, Silentscapes

Fraser Morton is a Scottish documentary filmmaker and writer focusing on relationships between human and environmental health. He has travelled and filmed on all seven continents.

Silentscapes depicts footage filmed in eight countries over five years. 

“As I watched old film reels of mountainscapes and volcano vistas, a realisation passed through my mind, like a lone cloud on a moonlit night: Be small. I can tell you with all certainty from a few wanderings around the world, that soul medicine is scattered all around, all the time, written in invisible ink on empty landscapes, atop mountain peaks and flowing over big cold, booming waves. The soul of the land is written everywhere, like treasure waiting to be found. You can find it in open spaces and wild places — the great gift of feeling small.

And so my friend, go to those big outdoor places and spaces. Then keep on going. Go to where trees grow taller and you shrink smaller. Go down dusty trails and wander along winding walks, into territories you have never been before, until after a time you have become a speck in the landscape. Then sit in silence for long after you think you should. And after a time you will hear the call, like a stirring inside, or like a song that whispers words you need to hear. You are alive and so is the world. And so go find those monstrous places that swallow you up and make you feel small, but somehow at the same time, as if by magic, also make you feel whole.”

Dan Stockmann, Craft

Dan Stockmann is a London-based filmmaker, working with charities, brands and organisations across various sectors, to create films that tell honest, informative and reflective stories. He aims to use film to bring a sense of empathy, calm and intrigue to audiences experience.

Craft is a series of films focusing on the art of gentle crafting. Taking inspiration from the pace and intentions of Slow TV, the films offer lingering shots with a simple narrative structure, and the satisfaction of watching something handmade being created.

The series presents the processes of a London-based Ceramicist, Origami maker and Textile Weaver, with a final product being shown at the end of each film. As well as intending to calm the audience, it also aims to inform them of different creative practices, and make it seem like an accomplishable process.

Your feedback on the effect of RELAX Digital will help to inform our programme, and allow us to provide the best content for our hospital community. To give feedback, please complete our short survey here.