exhibition photography

In preparation for the upcoming Brainchild exhibition, i have had a photo set done of the centre piece…

The photographer is a friend of mine, Rachel Brockley [who i have mentioned on this blog before]. As you can see these images are just fantastic.

I will be displaying these and some detail shots alongside the main attraction at the exhibition.

The Brainchild exhibition will only be on for a couple of day, but hopefully these images will whet your appetite sufficiently enought to come and see it in real life.

I will post a few more shots in the next few days

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crowdsourcing

I apologise in advance for my overuse of exclamation marks in this post, but it seems that the internet really does work!

I wrote a page on this blog to ask anybody who had some information regarding the history of this exhibit if they would contact me… [link]

Well, a lady called Emily Kane got in touch. She works as a librarian at the Smith Regional Public Library, in New Orleans, USA. One of my blog posts jogged her memory about Blackwell’s travelling carnival so she delved into the public records and found that it was passing through New Orleans in the spring of 1922.

It was at this time that the carnival owner Adam Blackwell announced his engagement… to a girl called Rachel Palmer! It was customary to make a public notification of this at the town hall, but ever the showman, Adam went one step further and put a notification in one of the local newspapers alongside a photograph of the happy couple.

Amazingly, Emily managed to track down the original photo amidst decades of stored records at the old newspapers offices! Not only has she emailed me a scan of the photograph, but managed to get the newspaper to donate it to this collection!

So a massive thank you to Emily Kane for her extensive and diligent work. And a thank you too, to the Jackson Daily News for being kind enough to donate this photograph to me to use as part of the exhibition.

I understand the photo is already in transit, so with any luck it will be present for the exhibition in May!

It is with renewed enthusiasm I ask if anyone else has any interesting curiosities that may be linked to this story then please get in touch. It’s not just physical items I would like to hear about – do you have stories about the carnival or the people involved? Maybe you know where Rachel’s head was stored for all those years before it came up for auction a few years ago.

My email is chrisfairrie[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk and i would love to hear from you!

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ultrasound brainbaby

my search continues for evidence relating to this brainchild phenomena…

here we have another example of a medical-esque photo manipulation.

the artist is called morgan smail, the original can be found here [link]

no pretence is made by the artist to pass this off as a real x-ray, it is clearly a piece of concept art. indeed, the text in the image ‘idea pregnancy‘ succinctly suggests the birth of an idea: a brainchild.

the reason i call it a photo manipulation, is because it is a composite of two images – the head is an x-ray, and the foetus is an ultrasound scan. to pass for real, both the head and the foetus would have to be ‘imaged’ by the same technology.

i’ve previously posted two other medically referenced images [link].

and while i dont know the intent of these pieces, if they had intended to pass themselves off as real, they both fall down by making similar mistakes. allow me to repost them and explain what i mean..

the above image belongs to brainchild studio [link], it shows a bisected head. however, the foetus and it’s umbilical attachment are not bisected. additionally, the scale of the two objects are way off – even if that was a child’s head, a foetus in such an early stage of development would never be that large. these factors indicate that the image is a composite photo manipulation.

[photo credit  unknown]

this time the foetus is a feasible size within the skull. however the image of the child’s skull is taken by x-ray but the foetus is from a photograph. granted it has been manipulated quite well to look like part of the image, but this too is a composite of two images.

the reason i have been looking closer at these medically-influenced images is because i have just received the forensic examiner’s report which was carried out on rachel’s head. included in the report are not one, but TWO x-rays of the exhibit!

believe me, the report makes for fascinating reading and the x-rays are spectacular – but i am terribly frustrated to say, i have not yet received permission to make the contents public.

as soon as i do, you folk will be the first to know!

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DISCLAIMER!

this post is a response to one i made yesterday regarding some of the traffic that is coming to this blog [link]. i expressed concern that i am getting an awful lot of referrals from the web search ‘teratoma’ which directs to a single post. my issue was that the post is based on factual information regarding a particular type of cyst, whereas most of the other posts to this blog discuss fictional information only loosely related to this theme.

as a result of my concerns, i decided to amend the original post.

i have now stated in plain terms that other information on this blog relates to a university project i am undertaking, and i recommend if readers have genuine medical concerns then this may not be the best place for them to be addressed. although, realising that i may now have a fresh audience on-hand, i do then try to entice people to look further! [link]

i now feel like i have set the record straight. i have accomplished this by spelling out what is real and what is not. i have openly discussed the situation, and in doing so have written this very disclaimer. and, i will also amend the page, labelled up as ‘The Curator’ [link] which will discuss who i am and what this blog is about.

having put this moral baggage to one side, i feel i can safely push the fictional narrative further – i will write future blog updates from the perspective of an individual who is putting on a real exhibition using the Rachel & Baby Rosie artefact as it’s central piece [which in a way, i am!]. this means that rather than discussing the how i create the media that will be on show, i will assume the pretence that things have been “restored for display purposes,” or have, “just arrived at my office.” 

i believe that adopting this role as a curator will aid the telling of this tale. creating a façade for this blog and web presence will amplify the many layers of fiction which i am building within the overall narravtive..

let us start at the core, the Rachel & Baby Rosie artefact itself:

the head is a fake, but i am presenting it as a sideshow exhibit.

the sideshow exhibit was a fake, as it was actually the remains of a girl who was murdered.

the murder, while only speculation, is backed up by documents that i now have in my possession.

the documents are fabricated, but my performance as a curator will lend them credibility.

but remember: there IS a head. there ARE physical documents. there WILL be an exhibition.

i am not asking anyone to believe in lies – i am simply hoping people will suspend their disbelief long enough so that i may weave my little narrative. after all, this is a very curious tale. it is unsavoury in parts, but i assure you, it is quite fascinating if you take the time to hear what i have to say…

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the human marvels

one source of reference i must credit is the human marvels‘. [link]

whilst researching possible medical conditions to explain  the brainchild phenomena, i came across the human marvels website. it looks at ‘oddities and freaks of nature‘, primarily as they have been presented within the world of the touring carnival.

the  stories of parasitic and co-joined twins were certainly most relevant to my areas of interest. and while none exactly fitted what i was looking for, i found myself caught up reading about the lives of these folk with unusual physical conditions.

photo above len and ernie: two boys, one head [link]

many of the stories told on the website are touching accounts of  people who have led very challenging lives, often demonstrating themselves to be shining examples of humanity rather than the monstrosities they were sometimes portrayed as.

the site also has a lovely aesthetic too, harking back to the golden days of the travelling carnival. many of the stories are accompanied by period postcards and photos of the individuals themselves.

next time you feel like life has dealt you some bad cards, go checkout the human marvels. reading about the adversity these folk overcame may help put your own problems into perspective!

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what brings you here?

is this what you’re looking for?

the above photo shows a teratoma.

in simple terms a teratoma is a tumour which can contain body matter not normally associated with the surrounding tissue. for example, a cyst found in the stomach may contain hair and teeth.

i wrote a post about this subject a month ago.

my reasons for researching teratoma was to see whether there was a medical precedent for this brainchild concept – i wanted to know whether it was feasible to have a baby actually grow inside a persons skull cavity. i was surprised by my findings! if you haven’t already done so, read it here. [link]

however, since then i have noticed a substantial traffic increase to my blog. below is a screen grab from my wordpress dashboard that shows ‘search engine referrals‘..

the teratoma post accounts for 800 of the 1700 views i’ve had since it went live. in context, all-time views to this blog are 2300. which means a third of the views to the blog come here looking for cancer.

this bothers me.

i struggle to put my finger on it fully, but i suspect i am concerned that there may be people who have genuine medical concerns about a cancerous diagnosis – and they end up on this blog.

you see, i am using this as a platform to weave a twisted narrative, in which a pregnant girl is murdered by her boyfriend. he cuts the unborn baby from her dead body, and rehouses the foetus inside the girl’s skull. the crime is then hidden in plain sight as he puts her decapitated head on display as a sideshow attraction. the carnival exhibit is explained as a tumorous foetus that grew inside the mother’s skull.

i’m not sure i want the responsibility of somebody who may be newly diagnosed/have concerns of cancer to be faced with such a story.

but then this is the internet isn’t it. surely people don’t believe everything they read, right?  people can tell the difference between fact and fiction, can’t they…? plus, it’s possible that all of those searches were driven by the same kind of morbid curiosity which motivates me to create such an unpalatable tale.

clearly i cant babysit everyone on the internet. but surely i have some degree of responsibility to the people who end up reading content i have published?

but it is hard to know where to draw the line.. i had planned to push the suspension of disbelief further in the next month. my posts were going to be more fictitious in the way they talked of gathering materials and content for an upcoming exhibit that i am organising in liverpool. i need these layers of façade to help sell the story, but i am becoming quite concerned with the morality of presenting the overall theme of a murder.

although, i should also keep in perspective that my post about teratoma was entirely factual. there is no blurring of reality in that specific post. indeed, it is quite informative!

clearly i need to put more thought into this…

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babies on the brain

even though this project is nearing completion, i am still on the lookout for other children of the brain. these are my latest finds…

the painting by by Tommy Lee Wendtner is titled ‘Clown Fetus’ and it dates back to 2007. check out some of his other work here [link]

this next image is by a spanish cartoonist called Chumy Chumez, and was printed in his book ‘Una Biografia’ [1974].

however, i struggle to call this the earliest brainchild i have found, simply because it doesn’t match the concept i have been working with all that well. certainly, there is a foetus inside the gentleman’s head – but the shape of the head itself is distorted, and the foetus is not contained purely within the brain cavity. it’s close enough to merit inclusion in the blog – but not enough that i’ll call it a brainchild.

this last one is an image i have posted before – it is the illustrated cover from a book of poetry entitled skinless soulless, by robert james keeping [link]. although i dont know who the artist is..

however, it seems the internet has got its hands on the artwork, and made it into an animated gif. [go on, click it!]

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