SPARE PARTS: Circles of Fire: The Amphitheatre - Cannulation Sequence

Artist John A Douglas undergoes a live cannulation, a medical procedure commonly used when transplant patients present at casualty with a complication.
Saturday, March 2, 2019 - 15:00 to 17:30
Science Gallery London, Theatre
FREE, ticketed event


Artist John A Douglas explores the transformative experience of chronic illness, treatment and recovery, having undergone a life-saving kidney transplant in 2014.

The performance is made in response to hospitalisations Douglas underwent post-transplant, caused by immuno-suppressant medications. He incorporates his signature video art, live medical procedures and an immersive soundtrack by Justin Ashworth. We are invited inside Douglas’ physical and emotional journey of these often banal, time consuming and uncomfortable experiences, transforming them into a moving and poetic vision of performative actions.

During the performance Douglas will undergo a live cannulation (a medical procedure commonly used when transplant patients present at casualty with a complication). What is daily life like when such medical interventions are crucial and what are the physical and psychological impacts? Audience members will be invited to participate by having their vital signs read by Stella Topaz during the performance.

The performance is durational and visitors are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish between 15:00 and 17:30. If it becomes very busy, Science Gallery London reserves the right to operate a one-in-one-out policy.

PLEASE NOTE: This performance features cannulation, a live medical procedure which involves the insertion of a small plastic tube into the artist's vein. Viewer discretion is advised.

About the contributor(s) 

John A DouglasJohn A Douglas is an Australian interdisciplinary artist working across video, performance, live art installation, photomedia, sound and objects. His practice investigates his ongoing experience of chronic illness through scientific, collaborative and immersive performance approaches.



Stella TopazStella Topaz is a bodyworker, performer and out-and-visible queer femme. With qualifications in nursing, health counselling, sexual health, and health policy, Stella is now in private practice as a certified sexological bodyworker.



Special thanks to the First Nation Okanagan custodian of Spotted Lake (Kliluk), Senklip Skalwx of the Osoyoos Indian band for permission to perform and shoot at Spotted Lake, BC, Canada.

This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of Performance Space, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia.