THEATRES OF VIOLENCE
DOI link for THEATRES OF VIOLENCE
THEATRES OF VIOLENCE book
The Visible Human Project is an apparatus which recapitulates an entire history of anatomy within itself.1 It is the most recent instantiation of a long biotechnical project, the anatomisation of human cadavers in order to produce the human body as a resource for ‘Man’, a technology at the disposal of conscious mastery. Through the dissection and analysis of the body’s organisation, anatomy works to suspend any distinction between surface and depth, interior and exterior, endosoma and exosoma. It ideally makes all organs equally available to instrumental address and calibration, forms of engineering and assemblage with other machine complexes. Anatomical knowledge is, for example, a precondition for all internal surgical practice, which allows interior organs to be exteriorised and treated in linkage with life-support systems. In this way anatomy, supplemented with the knowledges of immunology, endocrinology and the like, intensifies the uses and capacities of organs, and sets out certain terms for exchanges between human and machine organs. In their earliest historical form these terms were a negotiation between the material trajectories of the dissected corpse and the anatomical text, the atlas which made possible the science of anatomy as such. Anatomy, like all biomedical science, has been quick to utilise new innovations in techniques of visual demonstration-photography, cinema, x-rays, tomography-and each innovation has demanded a new negotiation of terms, new practices of organ translation and exchange. The ramification of these terms is not limited to visualisation. They extend to the practices of surgery, organ transplant, donor cadavers, orthopaedics, prosthetics, diagnostics, and the whole panoply of medical biotechnology. The VHP apparatus effectively gathers up all of these moments of translation and exchange and reconfigures them within an economy of digital data.