The Organ Recital

Installation at Cable Depot, London, 2024

John Wynne

After a certain age, recitations of bodily malfunctions take up more and more of our conversations. When I point this out to friends and tell them it’s called the organ recital, they often apologise, thinking that I’m criticising them for telling me about their biopsy, knee replacement, or fatty liver. But for me, it’s sometimes the most interesting part of social interaction.

The Organ Recital is an immersive sound and video installation based around my own recent CT scan. I was in the fortunate position to be receiving good news, so as the consultant talked me through the scan on his computer screen, my immediate thoughts, rather than racing through worst case scenarios, were about how amazing it was to see my body in this way. The imagery in this installation is generated by exploring the potential of software designed for medical professionals in ways doctors and diagnosticians wouldn’t consider.

Spending time looking at and through my body from every possible angle and perspective – contemplating the exquisite design of the human form, confronting its fragility and my own mortality – has had a profound effect on me. Discovering the Buddhist practice of meditation on the 32 bodily parts and processes known as Patikulamanasikara – another form of recitation – has allowed me to contemplate the scan from a more dynamic, less morbid perspective, and prompted new ways of working with image and sound.

Click below to read a review by Clive Bell



This is an ongoing research project developed thanks to support from: