Dolores A. Steinman

Re-Imagining Blood Flow at the Blurry Border between Simulation and Simulacrum

{kind: title}

Despite being produced and existing independently, images and sounds innately complement each other. As our research consists of blood flow simulations with direct and critical use in the clinic, we strive to achieve the most accurate representation that is faithful to the actuality of the process as well as being clear to interpret. Over the decades, our computer-generated simulations based on patient-collected data shifted from being solely visual to integrating aural depiction as well.

Departing from our early engineering-style visualizations, by engaging with visual and sound artists, designers and cognitive scientists, we developed our current carousel-style prototype that brings together video and audio simulations of patient data. The prototype is a novel bi-modal way of presenting bio-data based on Marey’s zoetrope principle. In addition to the idea of a succession of frames that engage the viewer’s (educated) imagination in filling the gaps between, the individual frames are caricature-like visualizations (i.e. emphasizing particular characteristics relevant to understanding the phenomenon) accompanied by most suggestive soundscapes, with the ultimate aim at quickly drawing the attention of the treating clinician to the fast changes in the flow pattern, changes that have been shown to bring potential fatal consequences to the patient.

From our point of view, the bi-modal representations we are generating are more aligned with the Platonic view on simulation. Our argument is based on the choices made when establishing the parameters upon which to run the simulations with the aim of getting closer to the actuality of the physiological process (without man- or machine-based mediation). We thus consider such alterations not to be rendering the model erroneous or distorted as much as being beneficial to gaining insight into the phenomenon.

On the other hand, passing critical information contained within the patient-collected data across disciplinary borders, we are careful with our representations. Each takes into account the inherent mediations that are fundamental to the Magnetic Resonance or UltraSound images (on which our simulations are based). As such, one could argue that the end result is a simulacrum in the Baudrillardian sense as the virtual patient becomes increasingly remote to the real one.

{persons: [Étienne-Jules Marey, Jean Baudrillard]}


meta: true

event: Simulation

author: Dolores A. Steinman