Post Bed-In Bed Net Blues

I learnt a few things on saturday watching the public walk past Viv and I during our Bed-In:

1) I have discovered a whole new world of performance art and I love it.
2) I realised that there giving good lectures and lab practical sessions to students often include elements of performance art. I noticed whether people were being engaged or bored and you get into that ‘zone’ where the audience is 100% with you.
3) Being inside a bed net and sharing a bed with someone is very good for breaking down barriers…..
4) Beds in art galleries and public spaces should be encouraged.

Great day in Bed

We had a great day in Bed at the Bluecoat Liverpool yesterday as part of the Lennon tribute season. Set up the bamboo frame at 9.30 and all ready for the start at 11.  Many thanks to Gina for getting the film together; for me the sight of a harrier jump jet appearing through the cage netting next to a female sandfly was amazing. The juxtaposition of the images of bloodsucking insects and military aircraft combined with the overlaying of the insect sounds, children crying and audio recordings of the war in Iraq was overwhelming.  This weekend is a time of remembrance for the war dead.  Every day the equivalent of 7 jumbo jets full of children die a horrific death from malaria. We need to wage war on poverty and mosquito-borne disease.

The Bednets Not Bombs Gallery

Check out all the photos from the day at the Bluecoat on our Gallery page.

Film finished for ‘Bed nets not bombs’

Gina Czarnecki finished rendering off the film late last night and dropped off the copy for me at the school of tropical medicine. I got goose bumps viewing it. If you are in Liverpool tomorrow 13th nov, it’s a treat not to be missed!

We will be combining the film with performance in which I will be acting out the role of technician spraying the net with insecticide (actually citronella aromotherapy oil mist). The second part is when I cut holes in the net using scissors and forceps then ask a member of the audience to sew up the hole in the net. Whats it all mean? Well what do you think? This is a production by LAB C.

Bed nets don’t stop all mosquito borne diseases

Aedes aegypti in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Image via Wikipedia

Some blood sucking insects prefer to bite during the day….the ones that give you dengue fever virus for example, so bed nets are less useful. Some researchers are working on ‘curtain technology’ , sounds good doesn’t it. Not making sure you get the right track to hold up your curtain but curtains with insecticide impregnated to stop and repel mosquitoes coming in through house windows and doors.

Humming in synchrony: mosquito sounds added to bed net sound track

Mosquitoes use sound to find a mate and altering wing beat frequency helps males and females find each other and the same sex to avoid each other. So mating pairs go into synchrony  but competing males go into discord.  I am using this as a metaphor in our ‘Bednets not bombs’ piece to illustrate the discord leading to war; usually male vs male! Compared to the synchrony and commonality that may lead to efforts to bring peace.

This work has already been used in an installation for the Spark Festival 2009.

Experiments in Mosquito / Machine Communication: Truce from khs frst on Vimeo.

The Science behind this was done by done and published by Gabriella Gibson and Ian Russell

Flying in Tune: Sexual Recognition in Mosquitoes.  Current Biology Volume 16 , (2006) pages 1311-1316

Opposite-sex pairs of tethered mosquitoes alter their wing-beat frequency in response to the flight tone of the other, so that within seconds their flight-tone frequencies are closely matched, if not completely synchronized. The flight tones of same-sex pairs may converge in frequency but eventually diverge dramatically.

Request for questions for Bednets: Their role in World Peace

Yes well the title is a tad ambitious but…

Bed net research in action. Photo Dr J Morgan

We know that there are quite a few people who disagree with the idea of encouraging the use of Bednets for prevention of insect transmitted disease. Is encouraging donations for bed nets just a way of salving peoples’ conscience about helping the “poor in Africa”? Or it about working alongside communities to help them determine their health and wellbeing? We will be having a discussion about these questions during the afternoon of our Bed-In @ Bluecoat Liverpool.

We welcome comments and questions for our discussion; responses will be posted on these pages.

Bed In preparations

Only 10 days to go until our slot in the Bluecoat bed in…trying to find some good audio files to go together with the film footage. Crying babies, mosquitoes, jack pot, helicopters, machine guns, fighters, sewing machines, foetus ultrasound and laughing babies; should be an interesting mix. Filming today of Anopheles gambiae (the mosquito that transmits human malaria parasites) adult mosquitoes  at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine with Gina Czarnecki for use in the film, got some good shots with the lens pushed inside the cage sleeve, they were clustering around the lens trying to get a bloodmeal much to Gina’s consternation!  Gina going away to do some black magic mix on the film with Sam Meech.

Bed In at the Bluecoat Liverpool UK

The project ‘Bed Nets Not Bombs’ is part of the John Lennon Tribute Bed-In at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, England.

The aim of the art performance by Drs Rod Dillon and Viv Dillon, which takes place on Saturday November 13th, is to entertain, promote debate and inform people about the money spent on warfare in contrast to the money that could be spent on positive peace processes that would result in enhancing world security. We will use simple imaging and playful action to inform people about the massive epidemics of tropical diseases spread by insects. In particular how the simple, effective use of a bednet can save countless lives by preventing people from being bitten by infectious insects whilst asleep at night.