Blood Group - Gift Certificate (1997)

Art as Giving

 The objective of this art project, organised by Synapse Art Initiatives together with the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, N.S.W. Blood Bank, was to assist the Blood Bank recruit donors and to involve the art community in an event that directly demonstrated altruism as an essential aspect of culture and social ecology.

An invitation to donate blood at the Red Cross Blood Bank at 153 Clarence Street Sydney, in the form of a "Gift Certificate", was distributed by Synapse artists at opening events and art exhibitions that were part of Perspecta 1997. “Gift Certificate” was an unofficial fringe event.

Perspecta '97 Between Art and Nature, presented at over 20 venues in and around Sydney, was chosen as the context for this intervention. It focused on the work of artists who address ecological, environmental and related issues in their practice. With this event as a background, The “Gift Certificate” project demonstrated, in direct action, that the principle of mutually beneficial inter-dependence applies as much to social ecology as to the 'natural world'.

This work was premised on an inclusive understanding of environment; one where environment is regarded as an interrelationship rather than a context, where the 'natural' cannot be quarantined from human and cultural endeavour. It is a view that recognises the functional role of trust, mutuality and reciprocity in social systems and the evolutionary origin and genetic basis for reciprocal altruism. 

Gift Certificate asked us to consider the proposition that our relationship with nature is our relationship with ourselves, and that developing a relationship with the natural world that gives honour to the integrity and propriety of its diverse forms, can begin with acts of anonymous altruism within our social eco-system.