Image: Philip Carr


Shelley Goldsmith & Carole Hayman


12 April - 18 May 2008

In the early twentieth century Dr Edmond Locard, a pioneer of forensic science, proposed his ‘exchange principle’. His idea was that whenever two surfaces come into contact, traces of material can be found. This principle has laid the foundation for modern forensic science and has coined the phrase ‘every contact leaves a trace’.

Using Locard’s exchange principle as a starting point, this exhibition presented the work of two artists and two scientists who, both individually and in partnership, explored the indelible traces left behind by our interaction with the environment and other people.

Carole Hayman’s documentary film installation, No-one Escapes, and several examples of Shelly Goldsmith’s textile work constituted the central visual part of the exhibition. Simultaneously, Forensic Biologist Alison Fendley and Clinical & Forensic Psychologist Anna Motz shared their work and thoughts through commissioned text and discussion.

Alison Fendley oversees the scientific analysis and interpretation of body fluid, DNA and other trace material in the context of serious sexual assault cases. Shelly Goldsmith, though her work with textiles and altered garments, imagined how the state of the wearer, be it physical or psychological, can be made visible in cloth. Although using different methods, and for very different reasons, both Fendley and Goldsmith explore aspects of the self in material evidence, and how the narrative of our lives may be read from this.

Anna Motz works to understand the roots of severe psychopathology in women who are violent against themselves and others, and explores the possibilities for professionals working therapeutically with these women. She explores the link between traumatic childhood experience and adult behaviour and was a key voice in Carole Hayman’s documentary film installation, No-one Escapes. Hayman’s work used the notorious case of serial killers Fred and Rosemary West to examine the psychological impact of extreme violence on those immediately connected with the case, as well as the a wider impact on society as a whole.

The exhibition itself sought to combine the diverse visual works and the professional scientific testimony to facilitate a comprehensive exploration of the physical, psychological and sociological implications of a serial killing.