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American, born 1956
O N E E V E R Y O N E is a series of photographic portraits by Ann Hamilton commissioned for the Dell Medical School. The series illuminates particular links between touch and vision, contact and caring. Hamilton photographed more than 530 participants from the Austin community. They stood behind a frosted, plastic material that puts in sharp focus whatever it touches, while progressively softening receding features. To viewers of the resulting portraits, the cloudy screen becomes the image surface, a translation that binds visual and tactile perception.
Touch has been key to Hamilton’s work from the outset. Among her earliest works was (suitably positioned) (1984), in which a man’s business suit covered in protruding toothpicks provoked in viewers a distinctly heightened experience of tactile sensitivity. Hamilton has combined the tactile and the photographic in many works; reflections (2000) is a series of photographs shot through multiple layers of slightly wavy glass that produced blurry images—a precedent for O N E E V E R Y O N E. Also creating soft-edged images was the small camera Hamilton placed inside her mouth for face to face (2001). Opening her lips exposed the film and transposed her (silenced) mouth into a speaking eye. By the end of the 1980s Hamilton had begun to produce the complex, community-engaging, site-related installations that have consumed the majority of her efforts since.
The democracy of art is perhaps Hamilton’s central principle, and it is clearly reflected in the remarkable openness of O N E E V E R Y O N E—from its enormous range of participants to texts and images available freely in print and on the work’s website. That collaborative effort is deepened by Hamilton’s commitment to the extended community of the Dell Medical School. Hamilton references John Berger’s A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor, which considers with great sympathy the relationships forged between a physician and his patients. A highly developed sense of touch, and an equal ability to see his patients clearly, as whole beings rather than as aggregated physical parts—while at the same time understanding them to be inextricably connected to their town and its culture—were central to Berger’s quietly heroic practice. Hamilton’s O N E E V E R Y O N E represents a similar devotion.
Health Learning Building (HLB)
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Health Discovery Building (HDB)
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Health Transformation Building (HTB)
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