Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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Start date | 01.02.2019

FWF | PEEK project
led by Christina Lammer, Institute for Fine Arts


Christina Lammer, Stitches in the Heart, still image of the 16 mm short film of the same name, 2019 © Christina Lammer


Hands, nothing but hands I see in the surgical operating theater. In surgery the meaning of the hand increasingly changes through the use of electronic technologies. This transformation caused by digital aids equally concerns the act of healing and the relationships between patients and clinical personnel. Visceral Operations / Assemblage encounters these changes in the practice of surgery, based on the research Performing Surgery, with the development of artistic approaches.

Therefore activities in the operating theater during minimally invasive interventions and classic open surgeries shall be observed, recorded and compared. Special attention shall be paid on tactile aspects of perception. Though the tactile does not solely refer to physical touch but rather to the full complexity of human communication. In surgery nonverbal expressions, gestures and body language are immediately intertwined with the processes of healing. Currently a gesture is frequently understood as manual manipulation of a device or screen. However in the frame of Visceral Operations hands shall be explored in regard of their shift in meaning for the surgical treatment.

In order to tackle the question, which role hands do still play in surgery and whether they will stay connected with the act of healing in the operating theater in the future, sensitive artistic procedures are required. Methodologically those include the designing of textile works, experiments with silicone, resin and other material components, the development of spatial arrangements as well as drawing and filming. Sutures between surgery and art shall be revealed in the handling. As a result body related assemblages emerge in order to express interpersonal dimensions within those common actions.