“Digital Anatomical Theater” presented by Hepner


Presentation Title:

  • Digital Anatomical Theater



  • The Digital Anatomical Theater includes 360-degree photographs viewed on a Virtual Reality headset. The series explores medical spaces from historical to contemporary times. The photographs were shot in anatomical and operating theaters in Europe, former mental institutions, and in present-day digital anatomical theaters— spaces where visualization technologies are used to view the body such as MRI machines.

    Early scientific practices for representing the body were conducted in Renaissance anatomical and operating theaters, places where public dissections and operations were performed in order to study the body. Today’s digital visualization technologies eliminate direct observation in favor of mechanical objectivity. This decision assumes that computers do not interfere subjectively and that images produced by a machine are superior ontologically. The reliance on technology in diagnostics creates an interesting ‘fusion’ between machine and body. I look at the comparisons that have been made between the anatomical theater and visualization technologies, while reflecting on how gender has played a complicated role in understanding the body. I make use of the immersive experience and sensory limitations that occur when using VR devices. The work questions how history reverberates through medical practices and spaces, processing epigenetic histories and altering something deeply encoded in the body.