Category Archives: art and biomed

Workshop: ‘Biomedicine and Aesthetics in a Museum Context’, Copenhagen, August 30 – September 1, 2007

Medical Museion is arranging a cross-disciplinary workshop on ‘Biomedicine and Aesthetics in a Museum Context’, Copenhagen, 30 August – 1 September, 2007.

The conjuncture of biomedicine and aesthetics is a rapidly growing field of artistic practice and academic reflection, dealing with an array of issues, from the public engagement with current biomedicine to methodological overlaps between the practices of artists and laboratory researchers. Museums are key institutions for this hybrid field of inquiry.

The aim of this closed workshop is to help forge new strategies of making sense of and presenting recent biomedicine in museums, especially taking into account the unique difficulties of rendering visible material biomedical practices in their social, cultural, political, aesthetic and scientific complexity.

The workshop will bring together key practitioners from a range of methodological approaches, including artists with a firm understanding of biomedical practice, museologists and material culture scholars, historians of science, art historians and aestheticians, biomedical practitioners with a knowledge of contemporary bioart, and visualisation specialists.

The workshop is limited to invited participants. Confirmed participants include: Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust, London), David Edwards (Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University), Giovanni Frazzetto (BIOS, London School of Economics), Anke te Heesen (Museum of University of Tubingen), Wolfgang Knapp (Institut für Künst im Kontext, Universität der Künste in Berlin), Sharon MacDonald (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester), Natasha S. Myers (MIT), Arthur Olson (Molecular Graphics Laboratory, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla), Paolo Palladino (Dept of History, Lancaster University), Claire Pentecost (School of the Arts Institute Chicago), Paulo Periera (Institute for Biomedical Research in Light and Image, University of Coimbra), Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities), Hans Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin), Miriam van Rijsingen (University of Amsterdam), Calum Storrie (London), Herwig Turk (Lisbon), Stephen Wilson (Conceptual / Information Arts Program, San Francisco State University), Richard Wingate (Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College, London), and Susanne Bauer, Martha Fleming, Hanne Jessen, Camilla Mordhorst, Jan Eric Olsén, and Thomas Söderqvist (all Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen).

Organizing Committee: Martha Fleming, Jan Eric Olsén, and Thomas Söderqvist, all Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen.

Program Advisory Group: Ken Arnold (Wellcome Trust, London), Steve Kurtz (State University of New York, Buffalo), Ingeborg Reichle (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin), Miriam van Rijsingen (Centre for Art and Genomics, Universities of Amsterdam and Leiden), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin), Eugene Thacker (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta), Richard Wingate (King’s College, London).

Digestive system house (CasAnus)

Dutch designer Joep Van Lieshout’s website displays quite a few interesting works of interest for medical museum designers, like CasAnus (2007), a house which is (reasonably anatomically accurately) shaped like the human digestive system. It’s made to function as a small hotel, with bed- and bathroom. I thought it would be great to enter it through the inflated anus, but there seems to be a door behind the appendix.

Placed in our museum backyard, CasAnus would be a perfect B&B for our guest curators. Or maybe we could convince the Faculty of Health Sciences to purchase 10 different organ systems and put them together as a faculty hotel for guest researchers. (I doubt the National Hospital would like to use them for patient hotel, its probably too provoking for their core users.)

Workshop on the sensuous object (smell and touch, ambience, aesthetic, visual thinking, tacit knowledge, sound and seduction), 29-30 September

Our own Lucy Lyons and Anette Stenslund are organising a two-day workshop titled ‘The Sensuous Object’ here at Medical Museion, September 29-30.

‘The Sensuous Object’ is an interdisciplinary, participatory workshop concerned with ways we actually engage with objects and aimed at researchers in all disciplines interested in the materiality of actual artefacts and ways of understanding objects through the senses.

How we experience and understand objects as sensuous objects that have been realized, produced, consumed through and by our senses, and how they impact on us and how we impact on them, are just a few of the expected discussion topics. By inviting participants to choose actual objects and use them as central to their presentations, the aim is to challenge established concepts and reveal new possibilities in our experiencing of and understanding through objects, using sensuous approaches. It will provide opportunity for presenters to test ideas, try out new formats of presentation and discussion, and examine their own research through the sensuous object.

The idea for this workshop began as a way to research objects from Medical Museion’s collections and for the objects themselves to form the basis of further research. Medical Museion is a university museum at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, with an extensive collection of historical medical objects from the 18th through 20th centuries and with internationally award-winning exhibitions. Its field is the history of health and disease in a cultural perspective, with a focus on the material and iconographic culture of recent biomedicine. Research at Medical Museion is seen as essential to underpinning university teaching strategies for collection and conservation of medical heritage, exhibition making, and other material-based communication practices.

Speakers are invited to present their understanding of an object in terms of their methodological approaches and areas of research. Research areas of confirmed participants include senses of smell and touch, ambience, aesthetic, visual thinking, tacit knowledge, sound, and seduction.

Confirmed speakers:
Laura Gonzalez (Glasgow School of Art)
Ansa Lonstrup (University of Aarhus)
Anette Stenslund (Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen)
Jan-Eric Olsén (Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen)
Carsten Friberg (Aarhus School of Architecture)

Postdoc Lucy Lyons ( and PhD student Anette Stenslund (, Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, 18 Fredericiagade, Copenhagen (

More information:
If you are interested in presenting, please email a 200 word abstract by July 15, 2011. If you would like to participate but do not wish to present, please email a paragraph about your area of research by September 5, 2011.

The Sensuous Object workshop is free and Medical Museion will host lunch on both days and dinner on September 29. Participants will need to arrange and pay for their own travel and accommodation.

Conference ‘Art and Biomedicine: Beyond the Body’, Copenhagen, 3 September 2007

In co-operation with BioCampus, University of Copenhagen and the Schools of Visual Arts, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Medical Museion is arranging a free public conference “Art and Biomedicine: Beyond the Body”, Monday 3 September, 2007.

Confirmed speakers include:

Ingeborg Reichle, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (

Ben Fry, MIT Media Lab (

Wolfgang Knapp, Art in Context, University of the Arts, Berlin (

Steve Kurtz, Critical Arts Ensemble (

Richard Wingate, UK Medical Research Council Centre, King’s College, London (

Ken Arnold, Wellcome Trust, London (

James Elkins, Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism of the Art Institute of Chicago (

A detailed program has been posted, see

See also the workshop ‘Biomedicine and Aesthetics in a Museum Context’, Copenhagen 30 August – 1 September, 2007.

Medical theme restaurant Hospitalis in Riga, Latvia

A couple of weeks ago we asked for a guide to restaurants and bars with medical motifs.

Øystein Horgmo has kindly sent us an article in the Norwegian daily Dagbladet about the new theme restaurant Hospitalis in Riga, Latvia, which is owned by medical doctors and has a pronounced medical motif.

Says my new favourite guide to Latvian culture, ‘Fucking Latvia: alternative guide to Latvia’:

It is a must-see place if you like gore things. The restaurant looks like a medicine cabinet, while you are treated as a patient and taken good care by the long-legged waitresses in nurses uniforms. The food is served in flasks and operating-room’s dishes and isn’t that cheap (7 and more lats per meal), but this is a bizarre experience that is worth breaking the bank. Besides, the place is owned by local doctors, but unfortunately, the president of Latvia, who is also a doctor, declined his appearance at the opening once he realized how weird this place actually is.

In other words, more raw and bizarre than the utterly sophisticated The Clinic in Singapore. Isn’t there one in Berlin too??