Washing Away

Edinburgh Science Festival, ECCI, Edinburgh, UK,2020(cancelled)

Narrative video, 4m25s

In the video, there are three levels of washing that are discussed. First, washing is a common physical activity in daily lives that helps to remove dirtiness and invisible virus. Take washing hands, for example, it has been proved to prevent infectious diseases significantly since the 20th century, and of course, it is also an effective method to protect ourselves in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maintaining the cleanliness of mental status is the next level of washing. It is common for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, for instance, to wash their hands repeatedly even hands are already clean. This is the behaviour often been done under subconscious restrictive to confirm their body is absolutely clean, and it is almost like ritual action done without thinking and selection.

What is more, washing is able to more specifically refer to the Artwashing - how art is used as a gloss for dispossession, displacement and, ultimately, social cleansing. There are increasing artists and art organisations been encouraged to engage in community development, which is intangibly an instrumentalisation of art by the state, local authorities, corporate interests, and financial investors. In addition, it is also a game played by the privileged, by those in positions of power. Artwashing helps to protect corporates, such as BP and Shell, from less palatable aspects of their business by persuading the public to trust them (Mel Evans, 2015, pp. 70-84). Although the extended meanings of "washing" are complicated than the original action, the fundamental function of washing out dirt or stigma can still be regarded as the same.

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