When to Throw a Painting to a Drowning Man offers parables and exercises which evoke the structure of a self-help book. The video celebrates the transcendent nature of creativity, examining its potential as a skill and tool for problem solving, critical thinking, networking, and team building.

Artists Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Anna van Suchtelen were invited by the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine to participate in its international workshop designed to train a new class of translational researcher. The artists developed this video to highlight the false dilemma of considering art and science as binary opposites. Focusing, instead, on the commonality of innovation, the artists produced this video for an audience of innovators who strive to come to terms with the uncertainty that comes with working collaboratively and across disciplinary borders.


An introduction by the artists

“Coming May we will travel to Italy where we will be collaborating on a project called ‘When to throw a painting to a drowning man’. This is a context-specific video artwork/artist book that we will complete as artists-in-residence during the interdisciplinary conference/certificate program on Translational Medicine.

The beautiful thing about being able to participate in this project – other than it being in Siracusa – is Eureka’s educational component. The content of the conference falls well outside our knowledge base, but it completely synchs with our pedagogical interests in new models of educating advanced (graduate level) cultural practitioners.

Eureka’s organizers are comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with working collaboratively and across disciplinary borders. Our collaboration is just a small part of their program, but one which will highlight the false dilemma of considering art and science as binary opposites; instead our video will be a collection of allegories designed to position art and science as two points in a continuum, which offers practitioners in either discipline a broader set of tools with which to approach their craft.”


PRAISES FOR ‘Throw a Painting to a Drowning Man’

One might think that creativity is a luxury; not core to life’s serious accomplishments. This film shows how a little creativity can serve as the life preserver when one is drowning in ‘serious work’. When to Throw a Painting to a Drowning Man exemplifies how creativity informs problem solving, critical thinking, networking, and team building to generate a clear vision and out-of-the-box solutions.”

– Norman D. Rosenblum M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), University of Toronto
– Anita R. Small M.Sc., Ed.D., Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf


Educational learning processes acknowledge a hidden curriculum: the unstated lessons that are transmitted in parallel to the formal curriculum. The importance of recognizing the impact of the hidden and formal curriculum is truly integrated in this outstanding visual depiction.”

– Janet P. Hafler Ed.D, Yale School of Medicine


If I were drowning I would want someone to throw me this DVD!”

– Alexander Jarman, San Diego Museum of Art



Brian-GoeltzenleuchterBrian Goeltzenleuchter (b. 1976) is an artist based in San Diego, USA. His work employs interdisciplinary research in the creation of designed environments, scripted and improvised performances, olfactory art, photography, and video. His recent projects investigate the use-value of cultural objects and institutions. In 2001 Goeltzenleuchter received his MFA from the University of California, San Diego. From 2002 – 2008 he was Associate Professor of Art at Central Washington University. His work has been screened, performed, and exhibited throughout the United States, Canada, Austria, Italy, China, Croatia, and the Netherlands.

Selected projects include: Adaptive Equipment, Lust Gallery, Vienna, Austria (2011); c (pronounced /k/) Wellness Centre, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Canada (2010); c Boutique, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2010); Sponge X Sponge, Colorado State University (2007); Institutional Wellbeing, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, The Netherlands (2006); Who’s not for sale, Banff Centre, Canada (2006); Unpacking Iraq, International Festival of New Film/New Media Split, Croatia (2004)


Anna-van-SuchtelenAnna van Suchtelen (New York 1961) studied Literature (MA) in Groningen, the Netherlands and Visual Arts at University of California San Diego, USA. Over the years she professionally moved from literary editor to visual artist. Text and narrative play a crucial role in her visual work, which includes installations, audio works and film. Her projects, often context-specific and interactive, explore the senses, memory and time. Her work has been exhibited and screened in the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Italy, India, and Japan.

Soft Voices (2009), an installation of glass objects, film and audio, is the outcome of a study into memory and sound. Lindenduft (2010), an installation of memory cupboards based on a Mahler song, is a study of remembrance and scent. For her work I got life! (2011), song texts printed on a shower curtain, a soundtrack on vinyl has been made. At the moment she is working on Our Airs Conspire (2012), an interactive installation for the K.F. Hein Art Stipendium, for which she has been nominated recently.