Woman lying on an MRI bed

Elscint Advertisement, American Journal of Roentgenology 138, no. 1 (January 1, 1982)

Working Group

Biomedical Visions: Aesthetics, Epistemology, and Medical Practice


Whether in the health sciences or broader culture, images fundamentally shape our knowledge and perception of illness versus health. The rapid advancements in biomedicine, technology, and art mediums along with social movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have radically changed how disease and health are depicted. Supposed improvements, however, do not inherently eliminate existing biases in what it means to live with, be diagnosed with, or treated for an ailment, and may even produce new forms of epistemic inequality, ignorance, and invisibilities. In Biomedical Visions, artists, scholars, and medical professionals collaborate to interrogate the interpretive work needed to move from images to actionable knowledge. They ask how knowledge about disease is created, modified, and transported through specific imaginaries and visualizations. They question how specific ways of knowing privileged through this process include or exclude specific audiences. Together these diverse contributions show how biomedical technologies and social orders been co-produced, either through certain visual practices or within a specific biomedical imaginary, elucidate how biomedical knowledge is coded and mediated through technical images and specific visual styles, and explore artistic practices for closing the gap between embodied experiences of illness and highly constructed visualizations of diseased bodies. In our highly polarized era where biomedical practices are more politicized than ever, we see an important opportunity to raise questions and new discussions in the spirit of thinking together across disciplinary and professional divides. Biomedical Visions is a timely attempt to develop and reflect upon cross-disciplinary dialogues, drawing together different perspectives on the aesthetics, epistemology, and practice of biomedicine.

Past Events

Biomedical Visions: Aesthetics, Epistemology, and Medical Practice