Maisie Barker looks at the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign taking over London.
Commuters passing through Paternoster Square this month will surely have noticed the giant red sculptures dotted around. They’re all part of an installation for the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, designed by Paul Cocksedge and supported by Janssen UK.
The 104 pieces take the form of names of real people diagnosed and living with blood cancer. Each one is made to perfectly match the height of their subject and is engraved with their stories of survival. It’s a striking campaign that intrigued hundreds of passers-by who paused to read the accompanying stories or test the structural stability (not encouraged!).
Paul Cocksedge stated, ‘This is a cause close to my heart but everyone has somehow been affected by cancer. It’s a unique opportunity to raise awareness about blood cancer’.
The location, in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, was also carefully chosen by the designer who said, ‘There were other options but a lot of people know this area because of the First Dates restaurant. There are lots of iconic designs nearby and people of all walks of life go past.’
Indeed, during the interview we witnessed children, men in suits, tourists, commuters, al fresco diners and many others winding their way around the installation – comparing heights or discussing with others. It seemed very fitting that an art piece designed to raise awareness prompted so much discussion and debate.
Martin Darbyshire, Trustee of Design Council & CEO at Tangerine, said, ‘Public installations often entertain or inspire in abstract ways, leaving people to form their own conclusions as to the purpose or meaning of the work. Paul Cocksedge’s response to the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign is a highly intelligent and purposeful design solution. It subtly intertwines the need for having a striking spatial presence, with the desire to communicate the impact that this cancer has on people’s lives, in an insightful and reflective way.’
While many London art installations may leave the general public scratching their heads, Paul’s contribution should surely bring awareness to this worthwhile cause and hopefully provoke some integral debates on the role of design in public life. The installation runs until the 30 September 2017.