Tooth Fairies For Adults: Reimagining Rituals For Our Tissues — Experimenta

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Artwork by Kathryn Lean created during Experimenta Life Forms workshop Tooth Fairies For Adults with Helen Pynor

Tooth Fairies For Adults with Helen Pynor

This event has ended. 

As children many of us were beneficiaries of the magical Tooth Fairy, who visited us in the dead of night and wondrously left gifts of money in exchange for the tooth. This simple ritual provides a small rite of passage in the journey towards growing up. Can we imagine rituals that serve to connect us to changes in our physical selves as adults?

Join Experimenta Life Forms artist Helen Pynor as she explores rituals for the human body. This intimate in-person workshop session will provide participants an opportunity to consider how we acknowledge the body through change.

This session draws on the themes in Helen Pynor’s work ‘Habitation’, in which she has made a bone china object from her own femur bone material, that was surgically excised during hip replacement surgery. The group conversation will explore how tissues leave our bodies as ‘life forms’ with different meanings and journeys. These tissues could be surgically removed to restore our health or change our appearance, donated to help others, removed as part of a cultural practice, and so forth. What rituals can we imagine to honour these tissues, reconnect severed links, memorialise their loss, process the emotional experience of losing them, and give them a dignified ending or future?


Helen Pynor’s artwork ‘Habitation’ is exhibiting as part of Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art, presenting at Tweed Regional Gallery (Murwillumbah, NSW), 10 December 2021 – 30 January 2022 and touring nationally until 2024.

About the Artist:

Helen Pynor

Dr Helen Pynor is an Artist and Researcher whose practice explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones, such as the life-death boundary.

Helen PynorDarramurragal and Gadigal Country

Dr Helen Pynor is a Sydney and London-based Artist and Researcher whose practice explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones, such as the life-death boundary. Her work is informed by in-depth residencies in scientific institutions, most recently The Francis Crick Institute, London and The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden. Since 2011 Pynor’s work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally including at The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; FACT – Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool UK; and ISEA – International Symposium on Electronic Art. Pynor has received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica for her collaborative work ‘The Body is a Big Place’ exploring organ transplantation (2012) and national awards in Australia.

Pynor holds a PhD, a Bachelor of Visual Arts, (both from Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney) and a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Hons) (Macquarie University).