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Biomedicine in museums

Looking back at some art-science projects at Medical Museion

By December 3, 0001No Comments

Here are five examples of such art-science projects that I have been involved in over the last 7-8 years:

1) Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard’s commissioned work Labyrinthitis, an artistic investigation of the workings of the inner ear.

When a sound wave reaches the ear it is transmitted via the eardrum and the auditory ossicles to an array of hair cells of the sensory epithelium in the inner ear that produce the signal to the auditory parts of the brain. As these hair cells vibrate they in turn send out a tiny sound wave, which can actually be measured with sophisticated technology.

Jacob’s ingenious idea was to record these secondary sounds from his own inner ear and use them to compose a piece of music. Labyrinthitis, as he titled it, was first performed in Medical Museion’s auditorium on the 2nd of September 2007, and won some critical acclaim, e.g., The Danish Arts Council elected CD as one of the three best and most remarkable releases of 2008. See the fine review (in Danish) here).


— .(5). Canadian artist and designer Martha Fleming’s Container Wall – conceptualizing the notion of ‘container’ in the biomedical sciences – both in living tissues and in laboratory practice

— (6). Cell biologist David Goodsell at the Scripps Research Institute who makes hyper-realistic renderings of cellular structures based on his close readings of cell biological research literature and scientific images.
— (7). My own Genomic Enlightenment using 670 gene chips from a (at the time unpublished) study of gene expression in thousands of patients with metabolic diseases
— (8). The UK-based artgroup Pharmacopoeia has made this larger-than-life dress Femme Vitale, made from 27.700 prescription pills used by a real patient with metabolic syndrome over ten years.

So these are some of the artscience works I’ve been involved in commissioning for Medical Musseion.

(featured image from
Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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