In September 2019, ECHO Teens (a group open to teens with heart conditions and heart siblings) visited a new interactive installation Kalostasis – showing the unseen flow of the heart, at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
It was an amazing day exploring a phenomenal exhibition put together by Lucy Hardcastle, Cellulle Studio London and heart researcher Dr Pablo Lamata from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London which ECHO has worked in partnership to establish, and engage with the heart community.
Kalostasis explores the inner workings of our most vital organ – the heart – and translates scientific data into an immersive experience through touch, sight and sound. The piece aims to make visible the beauty and complexity of the constant flow and motion that keeps us alive, and our body’s ability to attain a state of balance, an equilibrium key to our health.
Standing inside the installation gives you an insight into how our heart reacts when there is a blockage in the aortic valve of the heart, and how the blood flow changes.
The researchers at King’s College London and the artists involved in the installation have worked with patients of congenital heart disease to get their insight based on their own experience. They are keen to hear from patients of congenital heart disease in their work and to bring their research to life through engaging and interactive projects such as Kalostasis.
The installation made me feel calm and fascinated.ECHO Teen member
I really enjoyed it.
Dr Pablo Lamata, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London:
It is important for me to communicate research with the wider audience because at the end of the day, they are the beneficiaries and the people who are funding us as researchers.
We do sometimes forget about it but little by little I am recognising how fulfilling and motivating it is to talk to people. Because our daily practise as researcher can be frustrating and slow, getting the smiles and the excitement, and the hope, that you get when you talk to patients and when you show them what you’re doing, that really helps.
It is about establishing a mutual trust and mutual sense of team work in a way, so that patients can come with suggestion and we can some with questions and understand what the picture looks like from their side, from people who suffer with the conditions, I believe is quite important.
Suzie Lust, researcher School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London:
I am very interested in how to effectively communicate with the public about research. It feels great to zoom out sometimes from the day to day details of your work and re-engage with the why and for who you are doing the research in the first place.
I find I learn a lot from patients about what matters, particularly, what goals should drive your work if you are trying to take science from the lab to the clinic. I also particularly enjoyed learning about the how artistic representations help people learn and engage with their condition in perhaps a more positive way then they otherwise would. I think this would also have immense value in the research world.
Salomé Bazin, artist and founder of Cellule Studio who designed the installation:
I think Pablo’s research is really important. I’ve been working on the heart for quite a long time now and I think our bodies and our health really depend on that, depend on how well our flow is going. I think a lot of people don’t know about it.
There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t know even though I was really interested in science, a lot of really key elements about how to take care of it, that I was not aware of, and I want everyone to have that same information.
See all the photos from the teens’ visit to the installation here.