The Nexus Treatment

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My spinning diamond’s are called “The Nexus Treatment” they were made for a show with the same title at Space Station Sixty Five Gallery. The name “The Nexus Treatment” came from a beauty salon/hairdressers sign on my road. I know what all the rest of the stuff on the sign is, but had always wondered what on earth the Nexus Treatment could be. I really liked the name as it sounds futuristic and with the nexus meaning the centre or focus, it really fitted the piece of work well. As the animations are of young girls dancing and practicing moves at home to showoff their dancing, so that they are the center of attention.
I actually googled "The Nexus Treatment" and it came up as an "organization that designs and operates treatment programs for a wide range of child and adolescent problems." Which I thought was great as it ties in with the work I make too.

I later found out the Nexus Treatment is a conditioning treatment used on Afro hair to make it more silky and straight like Caucasian hair. Its also used in America where they test employees for drugs and use hair samples to find out if they have been taking any drugs in their free time out of work. People who are subjected to these tests use “The Nexus Treatment” as it washes out any evidence of drug use from the hair, so there are a lot of different levels to the name.

I made the diamond animations using mirrors to create the moving images. The mirrors on the animation are set up to look like a mirrored crystal or diamond, it spins to reveal the moving images of dancing girls in its facets. They are based on old Victorian animation techniques, I wanted to try and do something with that dead media, I have usually used computers to make my animations. Using the dead media relates to the work in that my work often deals with trying to fit in and perhaps not quite managing to do so, the fear of being left behind and desperatly trying to fit in. That probably comes from my time living away from the UK in Zambia as a teenager, when I came back I realised I was so far behind and not at all cool and trendy. We all have this fear of being the outsider though, and I like the idea of using dead media to try and figure out where we stand.


Sarah Doyle has created Victorian animation tools shaped as crystals to watch looped hypnotising animations for the window show at Space Station 65. The hand drawn animations show imitation of movements seen in popular culture. Staring at the animations in the facets of spinning jewelled mirrors created by the artist puts the viewer into an almost dreamlike state. The images from popular media which we know so well from our collective consciousness, revealed in the facets of the jewels are repeated, when cut from their original meaning become obsessive rhythmic movements.

Record decks, paper, perspex mirror / mirror card, adhesive


Shown in:

The Nexus Treatment Space Station Sixty-Five off site window project, Waterloo Health Centre, London (UK)
17 March – 14 July 2008

Iceberg Enters Obelisk Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK)
13 June 2008

My Magic Life Sartorial Contemporary Art, London (UK)
23 May – 19 June 2008

Blanc Noir Transition Gallery, London (UK)
13 Oct – 18 Nov 2007

The Nexus Treatment Space Station Sixty-Five, London (UK)
1 June – 15 July 2007

Press Release:

The Nexus Treatment
A Space Station Sixty-Five Window Project

Diamonds are forever ...
Seen through these St. Laurent glasses
And I’ve realized that I’ve arrived...
Kanye West, from Late Registration

In the crystalline animated world of Sarah Doyle “The Nexus Treatment” whirls and sparkles forever and ever. Counter intuitively utilising a hand made methodology,and consciously eschewing technological processes Doyle has crafted a Victorianesque hall of mirrors, with images taken from popular culture.

In the often rarefied realm of pedantic high art Doyle’s constituency is a revolutionary one She passionately and precisely studies and reveals the complex codes of young teenagers. Trawling through outdated hip hop videos, talking to and working with her younger siblings she identifies the “watch me now” shapes and movements which signify a universal need to belong, to be part of a group to fit in and to show off.

Doyle’s appropriation of this world, however, is no cheap holiday, there is an immersion and identification with it which goes back to her own experience of arriving in England as a teenager having been brought up in Africa. Unaware of the prevailing popular culture signifiers, references to TV shows, and imperceptible shifts in style she found herself to be “uncool” an outsider.

Her work meshes this yearning to belong, with a magical kaleidescopia of desire. The looped hand drawn images revealed in the facets of the spinning jeweled mirrors, when cut from their original meaning, take on a hypnotic quality. Like tarnished ballerinas on the top of a music box, Doyle’s tough girls dance for eternity in their strangely compelling cabinet of curiosities.

The Nexus Treatment is based on the title of a salon sign Doyle found near her home in South London. When googled, Doyle was amazed to find that it was revealed to be “an organization that designs and operates treatment programs for a wide range of child and adolescent problems” and it was also “a conditioning treatment used on Afro hair to make it more silky and straight like Caucasian hair” Both meanings strangely reverberated with the artist’s work. “I really liked the name” says Doyle “ it sounded futuristic and with the nexus meaning the center of focus it fitted with the work I had in mind”

Mixing futuristic elements and contemporary cultural references with clunky hobbyesque machinery, The Nexus Treatment signposts not only novel methods of art production but also introduces new places from where that work can be made.

Text written by Alex Michon
© Sarah Doyle 2024