Anatomical Self-Portraits as Fieldwork: Observations, Improvisations, and Elicitations in the Medical School (2014)

Kaisu Koski

About this exposition

This exposition discusses an artistic research project involving a field trip to a medical school. It introduces part of my postdoctoral project as a case study, discussing photography and video self-portraits as a means for exploring anatomy and clinical skills education. Instead of analysing the resulting photo series and video piece, the exposition has a focus on process and methodology: it elaborates on the artistic process and the various roles an artist-researcher can claim at the site of the medical school and in the study outcomes. The exposition also discusses the ways in which this process may engage medical school participants, and how the participants’ reflections intertwine with the artistic outcomes.
typeresearch exposition
affiliationUniversity of Lapland/University of the Arts Utrecht
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 1 (last entry by Christina Lammer - 28/09/2014 at 16:33)
Christina Lammer 28/09/2014 at 16:33

In her exposition Kaisu Koski transcends the boundaries between arts and medicine. She discusses the method of self-portraying in an unconventional way. Koski suggests a theatre and performance art approach in her explorations. This is particularly valuable in the context of teaching and studying anatomy in clinical education where performative or even choreographic aspects play a major role.  The author works with improvisation, photography and video. She puts herself in the vulnerable situation of a patient, using anatomical models for the creation of staged sceneries in a clinical environment. Normative facets within the relationships between (potential) physicians and sick persons are addressed. Kaisu Korski writes extensively about her engagement with the research process. Thus I would like to discuss her idea of inviting “the anatomy models to ‘talk’ to me by setting my body in various positions and relationships to them.” I understand that the dialogue the artist/scientist aims to create with particular anatomical objects is not specifically referring to speech acts, however she uses voice recordings of her collaboration partners and informants at the hospital, but more to bodily or sensory implications, right? I would be interested in how Kaisu Koski feels and experiences the clinical situations and the interaction with these weird objects. What did these artificial bodies and its parts – in a metaphorical sense – 'say' to you? What did they do to you? Or to put it with Aby Warburg, what is the ‘afterlife’ of these uncanningly profane creatures and how can we perceive and make sense of it in ourselves?


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