The Heart Is An Organ That Pumps Blood

Laura Paolini

2020, 05:24 minutes, English, with English subtitles

TAPECODE 2122.02

The Heart Is An Organ That Pumps Blood is a single-channel video. It uses two recordings; on the left, the viewer sees an extreme close-up of my face and chest, and the right presents a medium shot. The videos were recorded when I was in different emotional states. I appear to be crying in the left video, while in the right video, I am stoic. While my eyes are not visible in the left video, my neck and face are damp, and the ambient sound corroborates sobbing. These sounds are the video’s primary soundtrack. Text appears in the lower third of the video after thirty seconds, functioning like film subtitles.

The text describes the administrative procedures of patient intake at a dental hygienist school. A student reads my pulse using a stethoscope and their fingers on my wrist. The pause and “transactional intimacy” of this moment is jarring yet becomes almost transcendental when the Madonna song
Like A Prayer begins playing. The awareness here brought to my body and my state of mind was evoked by a stranger who must touch me for labour and wages, yet also show empathy and care. Once the Madonna song plays, the viewer is surprised, caught slightly off guard perhaps, as I was when I was touched.

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