Accepted Paper:

Drawing on anatomies  


Emily Clark

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the possibilities of the empathy existing between technology and the quantifiable body in the light of digital mediation in the medical sphere.

Paper long abstract:

In March 2003 <em>Nature Publishing Group</em> published an article referring to a new international ambition called <em>The Physiome Project</em>. 'Physiome' a composite word deriving from 'phsio' (life) and 'ome' (as a whole), and the project is described as intended to provide a….'quantative description of physiological dynamics and functional behaviour of the intact organism' (Bassingthwaigthte, 2000). It is described in the same paper as a 'multicentric integrated program to design, develop, implement, test and document, archive and disseminate quantative information' and declares that the 'human physiome' can be regarded as the 'virtual human'.

In this atmosphere of visual information gained about our bodies in scientific discourse as quantitative, my question addresses the place of empathy. This paper will discuss how through examining the contemporary clinical body as visual archive, we are seen and portrayed through collections of increasingly discrete sets of data and must necessarily assume that what is of importance in this field, is not how we are but how we are virtually represented. Looking at some of the relationships between <em>The Physiome Project</em> and Catherine Waldby’s critique of the <em>Visible Human Project</em>, as well as the now predominant and urbane screening methods of the medical industry, I shall also be examining where empathy might reside in this creation of these composite representations or 'virtual' persons.

Bassingthwaigthte, J.B. (2000). Strategies for the Physiome Project. Ann. Biomed.

Eng. 28, 1043-1058.

Keywords: Computational physiology; phenomenology; empathy; ontologies; mathematical models; enframe.

Panel P01
Modalities, materialities and metamorphoses