Health and Art

Thinking of Andy Goldsworthy. Cold and artworks.

During the summer holidays and following Andy Goldsworthy as a referent in Ephemeraworks, I made a simple and discreet experimental intervention on the nature related with thermal stress on body and how can it influence the process of sculpture working.

Andy Goldsworthy. Curved sticks surround a river boulder in Woody Creek, Colo. (Sept. 16, 2006)

The place where I made it was in the river Carol, at the edge of the town of Latour de Querol, on August 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Just like Goldsworthy worked without  protective gloves. This artist avoids body protection because of the loss of sensibility while making the sculptures.

In general, old people has less cold tolerance than young due to enlightenment of the body temperature regulation mechanisms. In general terms, women has more cold tolerance than men, because of the isolation produced by the thickness of subcutaneous fat. The rate at which the feet and hands cool is greater than that of the rest of the body, thus increasing the risk of injury at this level.

The contact with cold mediums cools for convection. The temperature capsizing the physical and chemical properties of the internal tissues (slows metabolism and delays the transmission of nervous signals affecting the muscular function) producing a loss of artistry and efficiency at the movements. 

It produces a vasoconstriccion too (blood vessels become narrow), specially at the distal parts of the body which aggravates the muscular function due to reduction of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle.

The precision of hands movements can be affected when the temperature of the fingers is between 30-31ºC. Working in cold water, the loss of heat/time is 25 times higher than that observed in the air. Possibly this is the reason why, at the ambient temperature of 18ºC and water of 15ºC, the intervening time has been approximately of one hour and not more, experiencing the distress, observing color and temperature changes in acral parts.

Andy Goldsworthy in the documentary “Rivers and tides” evidences the difficulty of working in low temperatures and humidity with the possibility of producing vascular and muscular dysfunction (immobility) and even signs of freezing.

Pauses, an adequate intake and hydration, avoiding alcoholic beverages, avoiding tobacco and a theft of protection can help prevent injuries due to this risk factor.

The object of the intervention, has been to integrate elements of the country into its environment. The Rolling stones have been organized on the river floor in a space reminiscent of a pool of reduced dimensions.

This is a human intervention in nature as many others that are not always in favor.  Pretends to show difficulty to follow a healthy nature course, the freedom of the flow and the print of society load.

Wild flowers

An unfavorable ergonomically element is the use of inappropriate elements; such as personal protective equipment that does not fit the body dimensions in precision tasks. My size is small, I usually use S or XS sizes. In this work I used some XXL size gardening gloves to draw. Using them requires greater muscle tension to maintain control of stroke or movement, which decreases comfort and increases muscle exhaustion, forcing recovery breaks.

“Wild Flowers”. Ink drawing made with XXL size gardener gloves. 65×50 cm.

Ergonomics for children. Ergonomía para niños: “El hechizo de la plastilina”

(Only available in Spanish)

Hace ya tiempo, impartiendo formación en ergonomía, numerosos asistentes solicitaban información sobre esta temática para mitigar dolencias de la espalda de sus hijos. Es por ello, que empecé a escribir un breve relato para que los más pequeños, entendieran el porqué sobre la importancia de hábitos posturales y algunas recomendaciones al respecto.

¡Os invito a leer el cuento! Lo podéis encontrar en el siguiente enlace: El hechizo de la plastilina


First aid child manual. Manual infantil de primeros auxilios: “El hechizo de la mala suerte”

(Only available in Spanish)

“The spell of bad luck” is a first aid manual as an interactive story. It contains recommendations for the main situations that require supportive action, and other educational material related to how the human body works. At the moment, it is only available for Apple devices, in iBook format.

You can find a sample and download it from the iBooks Store. To do this, you have to access into iBooks application, go to the iBooks Store, and search for it by author, title or first aid.

This book has been endorsed by the Catalan Council for Ressuscitation (CCR), a multidisciplinary scientific entity, linked to the European Ressuscitation Council.