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Read, Watch and Listen

Spain - Madrid

Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Madrid. The Red Cross Central Hospital.

1937 © CR Espagne

Peculiarities of Safety

Alexander Morison, The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases, 1838. The epileptic patient above, staring out at the artist, suffered from mania with epilepsy and is pictured in a straightjacket and an oddly thick headband. This item of medical clothing was designed to mitigate head injuries in patients suffering from seizures. The image captures the ambiguities inherent in the relationship between medical technology and humanity. A poignant illustration like this one highlights the very slender but significant differences between intention and experience. © Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

3D manual method of facial depiction from skeletal remains

The ‘manual method’ is a term applied to a depiction process involving materials such as clay or wax applied by a sculptor onto a skull or skull replica. Initially tissue depth pegs are attached to the skull, then the facial muscles are sculpted following anatomical standards and finally soft tissues and skin are added and aged appropriately to create a finished depiction. Image provided by © Ludo Vermeulen.

Nigeria - Udo

Biafra conflict. Udo, Swedish Red Cross distribution center. Before a food distribution.


Ethics of Research

A. Cartaz, “Du somnambulisme et du magnétisme à propos du cours du Dr Charcot à la Salpêtrière”, 1879. Research with patients was shot through with problems of power, care and responsibility. Here, the leading French neurologist Charcot examines the relation between seizures and sound (perhaps with the same patient photographed in Image 1). The illustration speaks to the particular gender politics of male physician and female patient and to emerging cultures of bodily display, the latest incarnations of which can be found in the ‘body spectacle’ genre of medical television. © Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF).

Technological advances - Laser scans

Laser scanners and clinical imaging (CT, MRI) have allowed practitioners to use non-invasive replication techniques to reduce the damage to human remains. 3D prints can be produced quickly without a messy plaster or silicone casting processes, or a digital reconstruction can be produced using specialist computer software. Portable laser scanners allow practitioners to visit the remains on site rather than transporting them. Image provided by Face Lab, Liverpool John Moores University.

Stacey viewing art by German born Marion Boehm.

Marion Boehm settled in South Africa in 2010. Her practice has particular focus on the women living in Kliptown, a suburb of a former township in Soweto, Johannesburg. Upcycling discarded newspapers and sheshwe cloth, materials that speak to township lives, she crafts large-scale textiles pieces.

Afghanistan - Khyber Pass

Khyber Pass. Convoy of the ICRC from Peshawar to Jalalabad. Convoy of 22 trucks carrying 14 tons of flour each.

1994-05-19 © ICRC / GASSMANN, Thierry