Nandhit Reddy Vasanth

Prints and a greeting card featuring the trephination design, placed next to a trephine and a large book illustrating trephination

Nandhit Reddy is an artist & designer, and an MA [Art & Science] final-year student from CSM with a background in architectural design. 

His practice explores experiential design and existentialism through products, installation, sculpture, and mark-making. Nandhit’s practice aims to address the problem of high-functioning anxiety by incorporating mythological, spiritual, and scientific concepts from across cultures and setting them in figurative atemporal spaces.

“By acknowledging variegated lived experiences and gaining a timeless perception of the universe, we might be able to appreciate our individual and ultimately collective reality.”

Drawing in white on black paper of a head in the bottom right corner with eyes emanating from it

“When producing this work, I was inspired by the surgical procedure of Trepanation (Cranial surgery) and the wide botanical collection featured in The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret.

Evidenced as the first ever surgical procedure (7000 years ago), Trepanning or Trephining was primarily used to relieve pressure on the brain caused due to head trauma and to drive out demonic spirits believed to be trapped in a person’s head to cure mental illnesses.

In recent times, people wrongly believed the procedure could be used to achieve higher states of consciousness or a constant state of euphoria by accessing the ‘mind’s eye’. 

This artwork features the release of demonic spirits (the evil eye) and the release of higher consciousness (the third eye) through trepanation, or the use of psychoactive substances found in plants and herbs. 

Drawing of a head in the bottom centre, with eyes up the centre of the page from large to small, and other small eyes floating around on the left and right

I deeply respect the women’s operating theatre which was active before the advent of anesthesia. The eyes are loud to capture the eeriness and simultaneous beauty of the museum.

Today, trepanning is used in eye surgery and extensive clinical practice is being done with psychoactive substances to help patients cope with mental illness.”

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