Nandhit Reddy Vasanth
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.”
“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.
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.”
Research and Further Reading:
- A Hole in the Head (1998) Documentary by Eli Kabili
- The Great Operations of Surgery (1821) by Charles Bell
- Cajal’s Butterflies of the Soul: Science and Art (2010) by Javier DeFelipe, Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
- Vice Report (2016) by John Doran
- Curiosities of medical history: Trepanation (2019) by Maria Cohut
- ‘Psychedelics renaissance’: new wave of research puts hallucinogenics forward to treat mental health.