Craft Skills and Aesthetics in MRI - Curated by Dr Silvia Casini
Retrospective narratives of biomedical innovation tend to omit the role played by aesthetics and craft skills, framing them as peripheral to science and privileging theory creation over practical making.
This exhibition presents a selection of previously unknown archival sources related to the Aberdonian development of Mark-1, the world’s first whole-body MRI clinical scanner and material from the team leading the IDentIFY project. The aim is to explore how methods and theories from the arts and humanities, usually considered peripheral to science, feed into past and present MRI innovation networks. The archival material in this exhibition introduces visitors to some of the humanities aspects of medical imaging.
IDentiFY is a research project to develop a new kind of medical scanner, Fast Field-Cycling Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FFC-MRI). As in standard MRI (found in tens of thousands of hospitals worldwide), FFC-MRI uses magnetic fields and radiowaves to produce images of the inside of a patient’s head or body. FFC-MRI generates extra information by switching the strength of its magnet during a scan, and it is hoped that this can help doctors diagnose disease more reliably. IDentIFY, funded by the European Commission, is aimed at developing FFC-MRI and bringing it closer to use in hospitals. The Aberdeen team has built a prototype scanner and is already using it to image patients who have suffered from a stroke.
‘From Where Do We See?’ has been curated by Dr Silvia Casini, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen and was originally exhibited in The Small Gallery, ARI. Her work is situated at the crossroad of visual culture and science and technology studies. She is the author of several articles on the aesthetic, epistemological and societal implications of scientific visualisation. She has been recently awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to complete her second book project “Bodies of Data. Image-makers, Data and Reinvention in Magnetic Resonance Technology”, which is under contract with MIT Press Leonardo book series.
This exhibition was commissioned by Grampian Hospital Arts Trust, and supported by Aberdeen Humanities Fund, University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian. Mark-I, the world’s first whole-body MRI clinical scanner, is on permanent display in The Suttie Arts Space, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary which is accessible 24 hours a day.
Cost to attend: Free