Before beginning this unit, my extent of art and medicine combinations were limited to one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy. As a form of art through drama, the show utilizes detailed medical procedures combined with their personal lives. After this Module, I have a new perspective on how medical technology can affect art. The human body, itself, is a work of art and the work doctors are able to do to the perfect the human body. However, medical procedures that can harm one’s health or are merely cosmetic are less artistic, straying from the roots of the human body’s original perfection.
Modern medical advances are made possible though imagining techniques that allow us to view the human body internally. Renaissance techniques have been long cast aside for contemporary MRI’s, X-rays, and Cat Scans. These microscopic photographs allow us to explore previously unseen environments. These images can even be classified as art. Virgil Wong, for example, incorporates imageries of bodies into his work. Yet, these pictures are still not the original pieces of the body. Walter Benjamin could argue that these reproductions actually generate lost auras, not true art.
Throughout history, the perception of what the human body should look like has evolved. Modern science has allowed plastic surgery to become an extreme part of modern society. Orlan engages in body performance art with series of live surgical performances that explore this topic of what beauty should look like. However, I believe these shows are not art, but merely unnecessary uses of medical technology in the name of art. This also represents the loss of aura because it alters the original art of the human body.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Marxists. N.p.. Web. 24 April 2016. <http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.htm>.
Jeffries, Stuart. “Orlan’s Art of Sex and Surgery.” The Guardian, 9 June 2009. Web. 24 April 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/jul/01/orlan-performance-artist-carnal-art
Orlan – Carnal Art (2001) Documentary. Dir. Stéphan Oriach. Perf. Orlan. N.d. Film. YouTube. Web. 24 April. 2016. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=no_66MGu0Oo>.
Vensa, Victoria. MedTech + Art Lecture. UCOnline. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep0M2bOM9Tk> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psjnQarHOqQ>
Wong, Virgil. “Art Exhibited in Galleries and Museums around the World.” Art. N.p., 2012. Web. 24 April 2016. <http://virgilwong.com/art/>