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Unforgettable conversation

Dialogue and Debate enhances Memorial University and The Rooms' partnership

Campus and Community

By Janet Harron

Art, whether it be on a gallery wall, read on a page, listened to, or simply witnessed, unites different people and perspectives together through a common human experience.

When this happens, art can become a powerful force for substantive, significant social change.

A new experience, Dialogue and Debate with Memorial University at The Rooms, was developed with this truth in mind.

One hundredth anniversary

Memorial University and The Rooms have collaborated on multiple standalone events over the years.

However, during the 2024 Year of the Arts and with Memorial’s 100th anniversary just around the corner, it seems especially timely to create a regular platform for academic experts to explore topics suggested by The Rooms’ exhibits and collections.

Three people stand against a wall spaced out with two circular artworks between them.
From left are Dr. Jennifer Dyer, artist Kim Morgan and Dr. Mike Wahl. Ms. Morgan’s exhibition is titled Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust.
Photo: Steve Farmer

“The Rooms is really excited about the potential for this new programming initiative to expand audiences, curiosity and engagement with our exhibitions and collections,” said Kate Wolforth, director, art gallery, museums and visitor experience at The Rooms. “We’re excited to see the different perspectives and expertise that Memorial University’s community of scholars can bring to the conversations we’re having here at The Rooms.”

The launch, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., will feature Dr. Jennifer Dyer, head of the Department of Gender Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Mike Wahl, assistant professor, Faculty of Medicine, in a wide-ranging conversation inspired by Kim Morgan’s exhibition Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust.

Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust focuses on eight years of interdisciplinary artist Kim Morgan’s research and artistic production employing electron microscopy to explore issues around materiality and the body.

1/ Blood Portraits

Kim Morgan, installation view of (left to right) Annie, Couzyn, Anonymous, and Juss, from the Blood Portraits series, ink on vinyl bonded to aluminum, each 79.8 cm diameter, SEM images of blood cells magnified up to 12,000x, 2022.

Photo: Steve Farmer

2/ Blood Cells

Kim Morgan, RBC1 (2015), cast iron, oxidized surface, 5.7 x 13.3 x 13.3 cm, and White Blood Cell (2022), polypropylene, 13.3 cm diameter sphere.

Photo: Steve Farmer

3/ Mobile ER

Kim Morgan, Mobile ER, mobile emergency equipment (stair chair, ambulance stretchers, IV poles, other medical equipment), internal and external lights, images on film, 233.9 x 200.7 x 193.0 cm installed at DAG, SEM images of blood clots magnified 2,000-5,000, 2022.

Photo: Steve Farmer

Her work transforms microscopic human matter, including individual blood cells and her mother’s cremated ashes, into something simultaneously poetic and scientific. It is an opportunity to bridge the gap between medicine and art.

“Regardless of our background or what we do for a living, we all have personal reactions to works of art,” said Lisa Browne, vice-president, of administration and finance and advancement and external relations. “Drs. Dyer and Wahl are both experts in their very different respective fields who are prepared to share and contextualize their own reactions to the exhibit.  We believe Dialogue and Debate with Memorial University and The Rooms is a unique opportunity to showcase the role of art and culture in bringing different groups and disciplines together through a shared human experience. I’m so delighted with our enhanced partnership with The Rooms.”

The two academics, whose diverse research interests range from visual communications, media, cultural, feminist and queer media theory (Dr. Dyer) to occupational medicine, human performance and obesity (Dr. Wahl), will bring their unique perspectives and experiences to what promises to be an unforgettable conversation.

Those interested in attending can register here or call The Rooms at (709) 757-8090.

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