November 26, 2006

Hospital Art

drmona.pngLaura Splan (via mindhacks) does medical art, artworks inspired by medicine but also using its materials - surgical instruments, blood and instructions.

I was particularly taken by the blood scarf, where a scarf made of clear vinyl tubing drains blood from the arm, becoming a cheerful red and warm scarf that at the same time vampirizes the wearer. Other highlights are the meticulous neuroanatomy drawings done with the artist's blood, doilies based on viruses and the comforting Thorazine pillow.

As more and more of our money, time and culture starts to orbit health and medicine it makes sense to have more medical art. There is certainly no shortage of art depicting illness, pain or being alienated in the medical system. But what about the art that celebrates, plays with or inquires into it? That is harder, because it requires more knowledge and contact with it.

Achille Ghidoni, a professor of genetics, has done some excellent surreal pictures based on genetics and surgery. I especially like his evolution images, suggesting a kind of transbiological future.

Bodyworlds is another obvious example. Although it may have become the Las Vegas tour of anatomy, it does have some very impressive pieces. The questions posed by the exhibition about the separation - and desirability of separating - art and medicine are fun.

Then there is of course the entire realm of biotech art, although it is usually much more conceptual like Eduardo Kac's "Move 36" and the tissue culture and art project. Fun, but not quite medicine yet.

Posted by Anders3 at November 26, 2006 06:12 PM