Hello! If you've come to this page looking for current Wellcome Collection information, please return to wellcomecollection.org where you can find our latest exhibitions, events, stories and more. 

Millennial lives revealed in Chris Dorley-Brown’s ‘15 Seconds’, Wellcome Collection’s first major digital commission.

1 May 2015

Wellcome Collection launches its first major digital art commission with Chris Dorley-Brown’s ‘15 Seconds’, a glimpse into the changing lives of Essex children growing up over twenty years into adulthood. The work is a series of triptych video portraits, bringing together two earlier projects involving the group with newly recorded footage. By turns funny, moving and poignant, these short pieces lay out the dramas of everyday life with keen and affecting  precision.

In 1994, several hundred Colchester schoolchildren aged 8-11 were invited to make a 15 second video portrait expressing themselves any way they chose. Ten years later, Dorley-Brown tracked down some of the participants and filmed them shortly after they viewed their earlier footage; in 2014 he made a third series of video portraits. Brought together as a digital online artwork, the three selves of the participants now enter into a generational dialogue with each other.

The first set of video portraits were made in an era before the internet became a part of everyday life; the last were made in a time where self-presentation through social media is everywhere. Across these changes in medium and forms of expression Dorley-Brown’s ’15 Seconds’ presents concise and compelling accounts of growing up, thwarted ambition and the search to find what makes you happy in life.

Danny Birchall, Digital Manager at Wellcome Collection says “This first major digital commission from Wellcome Collection offers us an opportunity to reach new audiences across the world with work that addresses the human condition in the same way that our new and expanded galleries do. ’15 Seconds’ is a work that has taken many different forms over 20 years, from DVD to installation: working with Chris to develop and produce a version for the internet felt like the work’s next logical step.”

‘15 Seconds’ can be seen at www.wellcomecollection.org/15seconds

An essay by Tony White, composed of quotes from the work, arranged alphabetically, accompanies the piece. 


Media contact

Tim Morley
Senior Media Officer
T 020 7611 8612



Chris Dorley-Brown grew up on the south coast but has lived and worked in the east end of London for the last thirty years. Largely self-taught his cultural education was formed in east London in the late seventies, against a backdrop of strongly polarised political conflict and change. His influences are shaped by memory, both personal and those of others. Since 1993 he has been collaborating with artists, filmmakers, curators, performers and writers as well groups and inviduals in the public sphere in a variety of cultural contexts, primarily outside the art gallery,(radio, print, cinema, television, the internet and architecture). www.modrex.com

Wellcome Collection is the free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The newly expanded venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned Wellcome Library, a café, a shop, a restaurant and conference facilities as well as publications, tours, a book prize, international and digital projects.

Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.