Sunday, July 3, 2016

Medicine + Technology + Art

A man-made physical structure displaying tensegrity
with a geodesic form
A microtubule filament of the cytoskeleton displaying
a geodesic form

This week’s lecture materials covered topics relating to medicine and art, ranging from the relevancy of the Hippocratic oath, to using the MRI as an art form. One topic that was most influential was the writing of Donald E. Ingber with his piece The Architecture of Life. In Ingber’s writing he discusses the building blocks of organic and inorganic structures, and how an architectural term tensegrity is being used to explain the geodesic forms that can be seen in everything. He explains everything from the microscopic structures of cells in our bodies to discussing the idea that even the solar system could be, “a structure composed of multiple non-deformable rings of planetary motion held together by continuous gravitational tension” (Ingber). The concluding idea in his piece being that, “perhaps there is a single underlying theme to nature after all” (Ingber). Art seems to be flawlessly relevant with biology and medicine when studying visual models and structures. The research into self-assembly of molecules, to how they have influenced architectural structures is an extremely interesting topic that will one day be integral to understanding how everything in the universe came to be.
A plastinated human body by Gunther Von Hagens
displaying the visual power of combining art with science
In her lecture, Professor Vesna discussed the work of Gunther Von Hagens, a German scientist who invented the technique of plastination by using polymers and plastics to preserve biological specimens. This method combined science and art to invent a modern mummification that re-animated a dead human body into an art piece that could be viewed by the general public. Von Hagens has delved into fusing art and science in 2002 when he performed the first public autopsy in the UK in 170 years to a sell-out audience in the London theatre. Despite receiving a letter detailing the criminal acts of his performance from Her Majesty's Inspector of Anatomy, who is the British government official responsible for regulating the educational use of cadavers, Von Hagens still performed the autopsy. Metropolitan police attended the show, but they did not intervene and the full autopsy was performed. Art and science flawlessly work together with the examination of body parts, as shown with the great public interest in Von Hagen’s show. People are greatly fascinated with the functions of human bodies and cells, and the use of art to reproduce and display cellular structures, or full human bodies is an incredibly useful tool to teach the public how they’re body’s work, and for scientists to study and learn more about relevant topics.


"BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Watchdog Clears TV Autopsy." BBC News. BBC, 2003. Web. 03 July 2016.

"Tensegrity." - Scholarpedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

"A Life in Science." Gunther Von Hagens. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Medicinept1." Online video clip. YouTube. Youtube, 21 Apr 2012. Web. 29 Apr 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Medicinept3." Online video clip. YouTube. Youtube, 21 Apr 2012. Web. 29 Apr 2016.


"Gunther Von Hagens and the Plastination." - Dark Art Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2016.

"Donald E. Ingber | Mediander | Topics." Mediander. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2016.

"Browse By Theme." Tensegrity. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment