Dash and Dem ‘A Fete Worse than Death’

At MOCA 113 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4QY http://www.mocalondon.co.uk/

Dash and Dem have been working with a team of Casualty trainers who act out and demonstrate in the most vivid and realistic way what accident specific wounds look like and how to handle the wounded.Who is the Casualties Union? At inception of the Casualties Union in 1942 it’s founder Eric Claxon stipulated that dummies were forbidden and instruction was only taught on real casualties. Today it exists to provide casualties and patients as teaching aid.
Dash and Dem passed me The Dictionary of Injuries, published as a guidebook for rescue operators after World War II bombings. One of the aims of their project is to extend the content in collaboration with the Union and update the dictionary. Dash and Dem instigated research into the kind of wounds that modern and future weapons like the laser gun can cause.

“…It.all… happened… so quickly…” is the slogan for the photographic exhibition inside MOCA and it illuminates the extend of burning and tissue damage to the body such a lazar weapons cause.

A Video piece in the exhbition has one of the volunteers trapped under a piano simulating increasing pain a real time performance by one of the Casualty members lasting a 3 long hours.

Today, The Casualties Union provides trained volunteers to simulate injuries and medical conditions, to improve the realism of training in first aid, nursing and emergency rescue services.

Fete worse than Death was staged as day long performance event including a ‘Free injury face Painting disaster tour’ involving shops and businesses along the street where a series of staged incidents of ‘worse -case scenario’s that could happen when shopping.

Soon everyone all along the Bellenden Road was bleeding and had protruding facial or arm wounds. In the spirit of the fun of the fete the injuries were illusionary but real in the sense that it produced in us that instinctive panic that we can only describe as that deep down in the stomach shock when confronted head on with ripped tissue and blood and disaster. That is if you are squeamish!

There were competitions on who could limp better, and who could win at playing dead, and guess the accident! Medals and Rosettes were presented and prizes awarded for best act in faking pain. Fascinated spectators and participants engaged in pain and dripping with blood were having fun at the fair!

I left the scene unscathed, dipped into one of the new coffee shops in this lively street, to eat a most delicious cake with the excuse that it would stave off that sinking traumatic feeling one get’s in associations with injuries. So be careful it can ‘all happen so quickly’!
More about the Casualties Union here: http://casualtiesunion.org.uk/1organization/history.php
More about Dash and Dem here: http://www.dashndem.com/Home.html

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