The Blood Scarf

I got an email recently about an art project by Laura Splan (a very interesting medical/body fine artist) that I thought was worth sharing here. This piece is a scarf knitted from surgical tubing, which is colored with — and I suppose alive to due to — the wearer’s own blood.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

51 thoughts on “The Blood Scarf

  1. I agree. That is very interesting and neat. I would love to see it in person. Must take forever to knit a tubing scarf. haha

  2. That’s beautiful and a little unsettling. This is probably going to sound retarded to anyone with any bit of medical knowledge, but I’m curious as to whether you could have another needle in the other arm so that the blood continues circulating? Or would the bloodcells like…die…from being in the tubes for too long? Eh? Ehhh?

  3. Amazing, but wouldnt that put a lot of extra pressure on the heart? There wouldnt be any valves to stop the blood pushing back down on itself and thats a lot of tubing to get through.

  4. That’s intense! A very unique idea, but I must echo others’ questions. How much blood took to get it such a brilliant colour? I’m not saying so much about the IV, but how much blood would one have to lose to get that colour?

  5. Has anyone clicked the link to her website? Her other projects are pretty cool if you like the blood scarf.

  6. to #15: the vinyl tubing being used is the same stuff we use in the blood bank to transfer packed cells between bags – so the cells wouldn’t all necessarily “die” – that is, hemolyze/rupture – but they’d be cold, and there’s really a pretty big chance of infection due to a slipup somewhere in the asceptic technique.

    from the artist’s site, however, it seems like that wasn’t the point:
    “The implied narrative is a paradoxical one in which the device keeps the user warm with their blood while at the same time draining their blood drip by drip.”

  7. I’m amazed that I can stomach a guy shoving a knitting needle through his balls yet this makes me want to toss my cookies…

  8. Wow! I guess if you can’t donate to the red cross (or what ever, due to fresh mods) you can donate for art. I totally love the concept! I need to set some time aside to go through her page.

  9. Before I started reading, I thought ‘what the hell is this? Some guy with a weird looking scarf?’, ’cause my mom does a lot of crochet and I never saw the material.

    Then after I read, I found it a little interesting. Though I’m with the earlier comments, I’m pretty sure that’s not the wearer’s blood.

  10. i totally love this.
    and: i would think that it’d only take about a unit, maybe two if you were being generous, of blood [normal volume taken at blood donation, not a big deal for the body to recover from] to fill it, as you’d only have to get a small volume on the inside of the tubes to get the colour effect. Most of the volume of the scarf will be airspace between tubes or the actual thickness of the rubber.

    And: while theoretically it’s POSSIBLE to have the blood flowing back into the bloodstream, it pretty much wouldn’t happen at all because it would be a total fucking nightmare to sterilise. Yes, it would lower the blood pressure a bit, but i think it’d be similar to a dialysis patient.

    t[hough, i'm only a medstudent, not a doctor - i'mnot saying i'm right, just suggesting a possibility]

  11. this has to be one of my favorite pieces i’ve seen in a very long time. impressive.

  12. Wow awesome! Would make a great conversation starter if it somehow got snagged and burst.

  13. Whoa, that’s incredible.

    I’d be terrified of wearing it though, since one little leak could kill you if the blood actually circulates in the scarf.

  14. guys it isnt real. its just for a photograph. its about the concept of the paradox not an actual scarf willed with blood

  15. Cant believe everyone thinks this is real… could you fill that scarf with the blood in your body, you would no longer have any in you, which the last time i checked was necessary for us, as humans to live…also cant stop looking at the blurryness in the right hand corner

  16. I love Laura’s work. I’m getting a tattoo based off of her Doilies project later next year!!

  17. That tubing can be really thin… you can take a out a good ammount of blood before a person gets woozy especially if they have good hemoglobin…
    450 millilitres, about a pint is drawn for blood, and the person walks away with a cookie, a sticker, and some ok.

  18. Pingback: A scarf made red by your own blood! | Routine Order

  19. Uh…This would sort of work…you couldn’t have blood actually pumping through it. Too much for the heart to handle. You could sure as hell fill it with blood, but depending on the size of the tubing you would definately loose way too much blood.

  20. Im studying extreme performance art and we’ve just been looking at this piece. It was in fact the artist blood and no, it does not go back into her body, it drips out behind her. Its supervised by medicals and is no more blood than you would loose when you actually give blood. which millions of people do every year!!
    It takes a very creative mind to come up with something as unique as this. excellent work!

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