Red Dot

UCL department: 
Museums and Collections

There is a red dot on the object's perspex mount. Along with other numbers and cataloguing references, this has been added at some point in the object's history. Nobody, including the Pathology curator, now knows to what this red dot refers. This prompted me to think about other incidences of red dots and what they are used to signify.

1 - The art market. SOLD. This simple sticker placed next to a sold artwork might mean dinner for the artist for the coming weeks, a sigh of relief from the gallerist, an attempt at discrete signing but perhaps more an overt statement to prove the work is saleable and to encourage more - someone else bought one maybe I should too.

2 - "Little red dot" (or "Little Red Dot") is an epithet for the nation of Singapore. It describes the manner in which the main and subsidiary islands comprising the Republic, with a total land area of no more than 704 km2 (270 sq mi), are marked on many world maps. Originally, it was apparently used to refer to Singapore in a disparaging manner by former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie (though this was denied by him), but has come to be used by both Singaporean politicians and ordinary citizens with pride and a sense of the nation's success despite its physical limitations.

3 - In Hinduism, the tilaka or tilak (Sanskrit: तिलक tilaka) is a mark worn on the forehead and other parts of the body, not to be confused with a bindi. Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis or for special religious occasions only, depending on different customs. The tilaka symbolize the third eye, or mind's eye, that is associated with many hindu Gods and the idea of meditation and spiritual enlightenment. In the past, tilakas were usually worn by Gods, priests, ascetics, or worshippers, but is now a common practice for most Hindus. It can express which Hindu tradition he follows. It may be made with sandalwood paste, ashes (vibhuti), kumkum, sindhoor, clay, or other substances. The pastes are applied to the forehead and in some cases to the upper part of the head.

4 - A single shot to the chest, a sniper hidden behind a tree, a weeping red dot, a military funeral, a weeping family.

5 - You are Here. I've been wandering about for hours, I've no idea where I am going or where I have been but now at least, thank God, thanks to the red dot on this map I know where I am. I am here.

6 - 'The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas' - They Might be Giants

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

The sun is hot
The sun is not
A place where we could live
But here on Earth there'd be no light
Without the light it gives

We need its light
We need its heat
The sunlight that we see
The sunlight comes from our own sun's atomic energy

7 - When I was 7, I would wait eagerly, nervously, to be handed back my homework book. As it landed on my desk I'd push the pages over to the latest one and my eyes would throw themselves to the bottom of the work. There it was a, red dot, I'd done well.