Above: Patient being prepared for MRI scan. Credit: NCA, Canada.
In 1927 Bauhaus art-and-design school professor Laszlo Moholy-Nagy suggested that creative photographers should engage with scientific photographic devices such as photo-microscopy and X-ray equipment: why were the creative possibilities of these imaging devices not being urgently and avidly explored by artists? Moholy-Nagy wondered.
Since the early-twentieth-century, imaging for scientific and medical applications has evolved rapidly, producing a number of highly technical niche technologies, including: advanced tactile imaging; autonomous vehicle imaging; digital holography; endoscopy; infrared brain-imaging; infrared video; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); CT scanning (CAT scan); photoacoustic imaging; photon fluorescence microscopy; positron emission tomography (PET); thermography; and tomography.
Moholy-Nagy's exhortation still stands: these technologies must surely allow for new creative imaging possibilities. The real impediment to any such creative exploration is access--installed in the clinic or hospital such machines are typically in near-constant medical use.
If any such machine-technology as those imaging devices above were to be installed in an art school, for general creative use, perhaps the studio set aside would become the Moholy-Nagy Studio: a place where the aloof, neutral--and some argue dehumanizing--medical gaze, could be deconstructed and replaced by who-knows-what?
(31 January 2018)