News at Medicine - October 2013 - Artist creates interactive exhibition

Artist creates interactive exhibition
October 4, 2013
Annette Manning is a visual artist who currently has an interactive art installation in the Waterford Hospital and the Health Sciences Centre.
For this project, she built a three pendulum harmonograph – a drawing machine first invented in the 19th century which records, with pen and paper, the relations between three moving pendulums.
The result is a kinetic interactive drawing machine and many drawings. It was installed in the Waterford Hospital on May 30 and has been used by outpatients, residents and workers there. A display board close to the machine allowed people to write comments and place drawings created using the harmonograph. 
“My objective was to create a space or objects in the hospital that would facilitate distraction from stress and allow for a meditative interactive experience for hospital workers, students and the general public,” explained Ms. Manning, whose background includes a degree in fine art visual from Grenfell campus.
One of the comments received said the harmonograph has a soothing rhythmic, repetitive sound and motion that evokes feelings of being rocked and comforted with its constant motion.
The harmonograph project started over two years ago in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine. “My initial work involved interviewing health professional in the medical school and gathering information about disease and health and the general functioning of body systems with the intent of creating an installation of artwork that responded to these interviews,” said Ms. Manning.
“The three pendulum harmonograph is a response to this research. It’s a way of making the invisible visible – the harmonograph is a contained system like the body, yet each drawing is unique because the forces acting on it are always different.”
The second part of this installation is a display of Ms. Manning’s drawings created using the harmonograph in the lobby of the Faculty of Medicine.  
“This project is of benefit to the medical school as well as the community at large because it allows for creative expression and engagement between various audiences in a hospital environment,” said Ms. Manning. “Because this installation is in both the Waterford hospital and the Health Sciences Centre, it allows for communication and interaction between these places. Essentially its purpose is to facilitate communication using creative artistic means between medical students, mental health patients, health professionals and the general community. “
A reception to celebrate Ms. Manning’s harmonograph installation will be held Oct. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the lobby of the Faculty of Medicine. To view the harmonograph in action visit
Funding for this collaborative project came from the Canada Council, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the City of St. John's.