Many of the most essential things in recent biomedicine are too small or too fast for the naked eye to see. At the session The biomedical invisibles, at the conference in September, Henrik Treimo and Victoria Höög addressed the issue of how to represent such invisibles.

How can we make objects, which escape an immediate visual encounter, visible or understandable to museum visitors, who are accustomed to engaging with material macroobjects and direct representation? Henrik pointed out that the frequently used cellular animations, often gives a too simplistic view of the phenomenon they are meant to depict. Read Henrik’s full abstract here.

Victoria emphasized that we need also to explore the epistemology of these current biomedical images. They seem more scientific and realistic than traditional drawings, but in fact they are just as constructed. Another problem with the medical illustrations of today is that they also are in a sense invisible to the untrained eye. One needs a specific medical insight to be able to interpret these images. Victoria suggested that a job for the medical museums might be to teach their publics to see and interpret. Read Victoria’s full abstract here.


In the discussion afterwards it was put forth that all images in are constructed and therefore are able to ‘lie’. The question of whether these images bring us closer to, or further away from, our body, was also raised. There were comments from Thomas Söderqvist, Danny Birchall, Suzanne Anker, Silvia Casini and Nurin Veis.

See a list of the abstracts here. Read more about the EAMHMS video clip project here.

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