Tuesday, 12 March 2013

object invesitigation workshop, Communicating Medical Materialities, Medical Museion, Copenhagen

Lucy Lyons and David Pantalony guided a object investigation workshop exploring objects from the museum's collection using drawing, the senses and imagining. This was one of the highlights from the conference, and also the most challenging. Four tables were laid with objects from the collection categorized as body matter, chemical, metal and seeing/touching. Both Steven and I were at the body matter table, and were moved to work with the face of a young boy who had been deformed by disease, preserved in formaldahyde. On seeing this for the first time I wanted to cry and chose this object to work with out of respect for the young boy and to work through this strong emotional response. Initially, we were asked not to focus on the boy, but to draw the glass vessel he was suspended in, imaging how this might have been manufactured and the circumstances around this. We later learned from the museum technician that the boy had suffered from a cancer that is caused by extreme poverty and malnutrition, and that is very very rare these days. Discussion also covered the ethical questions of how human tissue is sourced for museum and academic research, but also the issue of how to exhibit this kind of material.

Another exercise involved feeling an object with one hand and doing a blind drawing what you felt with the other.

Video documentation of the workshop here.