For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'it might have been'

A durational one-to-one performance/installation by Lynn Lu & Prof Carmine Pariante for BLOOD: Life Uncut, Science Gallery London. 2017


The brain, the body, the mind.

A continuous connection that underpins the neuroscience of emotions and behaviour.

Together with neuroscientist Carmine Pariante, we created a weekend-long installation and participatory performance for the "BLOOD: Life Uncut" exhibition organised by the Science Gallery London.

The artwork is a metaphorical blood exchange that draws from Prof Pariante’s research at King’s College: blood inflammation in people affected by stress impacts the brain and reduces the birth of new neurons, thus inducing depressive symptoms. 

I invited participants to recount a significant personal regret - a theme that plagues depressed patients - as I transcribed it onto a sheet of vellum.

I then pricked their finger and placed a drop of blood in a petri dish. In exchange, I offered them a shot of anti-inflammatory beet juice.

Over the two days, the petri dishes filled with blood "inflamed" with lament while vials of detoxifying beetroot emptied one by one.

Nearby speakers murmured layered verses of ‘what might have been’, while the wall behind us gradually filled with anonymous regrets collected from participants.

photos by: Vestal McIntyre, Giulia Lombardo, Alessandra Cianetti, Annie Kwan

video editing by: Lynn Lu