One Minute, 130 Years

Residency in collaboration with poet, Stephen Watts, working with children, families and staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children, Bethnal Green Road, 1997. Co-ordinated by Vital Arts.

The hospital was closing and being relocated onto wards within the Royal London Hospital. Our brief was to bring the past of the hospital into the present and onto the future. We worked with people throughout the hospital in a variety of ways – interviews, holding public events and visiting wards with arts activities for children. We researched the history of the hospital.

In a disused hospital laboratory I found an old medical cabinet and scientific glassware, some of which I used on the wards with children: inviting them to ‘make a wish’ while choosing colours of sand to pour into tiny volumetric flasks; dropping the wrapper from a chocolate into a flask. I installed these and other items within the medical cabinet, which was kept in the foyer of the hospital up until it closed.