Anatomy live : performance and the operating theatre by Maaike Bleeker

By Maaike Bleeker

Gross anatomy, the research of anatomical buildings that may be obvious via unassisted imaginative and prescient, has lengthy been a topic of fascination for artists. for many glossy audience, besides the fact that, the anatomy lesson—the technically designated province of medical surgeons and clinical faculties—hardly turns out the right kind breeding floor for the hybrid workings of paintings and conception. We overlook that, in its early phases, anatomy pursued the hugely theatrical spirit of Renaissance technology, as painters equivalent to Rembrandt and Da Vinci and scientific teachers like Fabricius of Aquapendente shared audiences dedicated to the workings of the human physique. Anatomy Live: Performance and the working Theatre, a awesome attention of recent advancements at the degree, in addition to in modern writings of theorists reminiscent of Donna Haraway and Brian Massumi, turns our smooth notions of the dissecting desk on its head—using anatomical theatre as a way of acquiring a clean point of view on representations of the physique, conceptions of subjectivity, and personal wisdom approximately technological know-how and the degree. seriously dissecting famous exhibitions like Body Worlds and The obvious Human Project and that includes contributions from a couple of varied students on such topics because the development of spectatorship and the results of anatomical historical past, Anatomy Live isn't really to be ignored by means of a person with an curiosity during this attractive intersection of technology and creative practice.

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The media instantly turned Jernigan into a posthumous celebrity. 22 Jernigan’s dissection into slices was described as ‘extra punishment’ on top of his death sentence. Some newspapers commented that, by donating his body to this educational-scientific project, Jernigan at least paid his dues to society. 23 In whatever capacity, the mythology of the convicted criminal has become an integral part of the Visible Male data set; Jernigan’s digital representation is a constant re- 38 ANATOMY LIVE minder of American capital punishment, of the body disciplined through crime and punishment, forever exposed to the scopic regime of science.

The VHP presents itself as a visual reference book – a standard body for the twenty-first century. However, it is rather presumptuous to equate actual cadavers to digital reconstructions, and to treat virtual dissections as equally valid as their real-life counterparts. Nevertheless, this does not mean that working with the VHP’s data sets constitutes a lesser or less valuable preparatory tool for future doctors. On the contrary, getting acquainted with human anatomy through digital cross-sections perfectly fits everyday practice in contemporary medicine, which already relies heavily on looking at scanned cross-sections of patients’ bodies.

While still on death row, he had agreed to donate his body to science, and specifically to the Visible Human Project. In exchange for his collaboration, his sentence to the electric chair was changed into death by lethal injection. Just like Renaissance judges who sentenced criminals to the gallows to please anatomists, the milder sentence for the Texan prisoner was primarily motivated by a desire to serve the interests of science rather than those of the convict: lethal injection causes minimal effects on the otherwise perfect body.

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