Transplants "blur the easy distinctions between life and death…." (Darwent) This panel takes a global perspective on transplantation, probing its social and political foundations and its subjective, human consequences via sounds and images from the creative research project Transplant and Life. The presentations will be in the first session and the second session will be discussion based.
This panel seeks a global and transdisciplinary perspective on transplantation and asks how - or if - art, in its broadest sense, can contribute to the understanding of this life-changing process from personal, social, and/or medical perspectives. It will explore relationships between biopolitics and emotion, and between the social and personal in the sphere of organ transplantation. Amidst the tangle of emotional and political complications surrounding transplantation, what of the patient voice, the subjective experience of those whose bodies have been subjected to invasive, sometimes traumatic interventions and whose lives have been extended and sometimes transformed? Can socially engaged cultural practices help to reconcile critical analysis of the paradoxical set of ideological or moral premises on which transplantation arguably rests (Lesley Sharp) with the compassion and trust on which the process relies? How are biomedical technology and the medicalised body represented in publically available imagery associated with organ transplantation? The panel invites contributions from practitioners and theorists from across and between the disciplines of anthropology, ethnography, art and medicine and from both developed and developing societies.