Thursday 7th June, 1.30-3 pm, Keynes Library, School of Arts, 43-46 Gordon Square
Today, almost forty years after the development of the world’s first clinical full body Magnetic Resonance Image scanner in John R. Mallard’s Aberdeen physics laboratory, biomedical images help interpret the clinical significance of biodata for patients all around the world. But what is it that the image-makers in Mallard’s lab first saw before a protocol solidified for generating image from data, data from signal/noise, and interpretation of the data from the data-generated image? When an emerging image-generating technique is under development, when the protocol for image generation/data interpretation has not yet crystallised into a visual output, how is it that scientists visualise? What do they see? And how is what they see reinvented? Which are the visual practices and theories that image-making artists adopt when they use the emergent but now standardised biomedical imaging techniques to engage with and reconfigure diverse cultural interpretations of the neurosciences and other biomedical imaging fields?
This talk will explore the epistemological and historical role played by data-visualisation practices across contemporary biomedicine and the arts. It is based upon extensive use of the Mallard archive, oral history interviews, and fieldwork with contemporary image-makers in the laboratory and the art studio. Carefully attending to the construction of visual practices and their meaning in the biomedical sciences and in the arts can enable us to foster and maintain the stereoscopic vision necessary to address our role in a world in which we are both a biological organism made up of molecules, neurons, cells, and also an entity equipped with intentionality, desires, thoughts and values.
Silvia Casini is a Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen
Everyone is welcome. There is no need to book.
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Image: The first-ever MR image of a mouse displaying relaxation time information, Aberdeen 1974