Samson Pavilion at HEC

What can storytelling, as narrative and performance, teach us about health care, healing, memory, trauma, and grief?

Designed by Foster + Partners, the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion is the centerpiece of the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University Health Education Campus. In spaces conceived for the education and training of medical, nursing, dental, physician-assistant, and social-work students, FRONT 2022 presents art that highlights the potential that storytelling holds for developing a more holistic understanding of healing practices and care work.

Naeem Mohaiemen’s melancholic feature film Jole Dobe Na (Those Who Do Not Drown) (2020) follows a young couple through the hollowed-out spaces of an abandoned hospital. Dreamlike and disjointed, like our memories, the film poignantly portrays what author Joan Didion, struggling to come to terms with her husband’s passing, called “magical thinking,” a part of the process of mourning that calls on the afterlife of imagination to refute the fact of death. Elsewhere, Wong Kit Yi presents a karaoke-style video installation, featuring an essay film punctuated by the artist’s songs, that encourages audience sing-alongs through the inclusion of running subtitles. Responding to the growing amnesia caused by the oversaturation of digital information, Wong reflects and speculates on alternative, more-embodied modes of recording and remembering, from the performativity of oral traditions to the possibility of genetically encoded memory. Wong will present a related lecture-performance during the Triennial’s opening days.

The Samson’s light-filled central atrium will host two performances during the exhibition’s closing days. Nora Turato will deliver one of her signature monologues which, though precisely scripted and rehearsed, can sound like an unhinged rant. Collaged together from a variety of sources—from mass and social media, advertising and marketing speak, and private conversations—Turato’s intense stream-of-consciousness flow reveals the potency of language and voice, freed from strictures of thought and meaning, to access trauma and achieve catharsis. And Every Ocean Hughes will present the North American debut of Help the Dead (2019), a participatory performance with music by Colin Self and Geo Wyeth inspired by the artist’s training as a “death doula,” during which she learned how to care for dead bodies and perform home funerals. Reflecting on “queer death,” Hughes challenges the medicalization of end-of-life care and recoups our lost intimacy with dying, death, and the dead.

Naeem Mohaiemen, Jole Dobe Na (Those Who Do Not Drown), 2020. Color film with sound, 64 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Experimenter, India. Co-commissioned by Yokohama Triennale and Bildmuseet Umea and presented with support from the Case Western Reserve University, Putnam Fund. © Naeem Mohaiemen

Supported by the Case Western Reserve University, Putnam Fund

15 CLEVELAND Univ Circle
9501 Euclid Ave
OH 44106
CWRU HEC 070821 701