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Hospital Drama: Visual Theatres of the Medical Rendezvous from Asylum to Hospital with Reference to Specific Works by Anna Furse

Furse, Anna F. D.. 2014. Hospital Drama: Visual Theatres of the Medical Rendezvous from Asylum to Hospital with Reference to Specific Works by Anna Furse. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 39(3), pp. 238-257. ISSN 0308-0188 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper is informed by Furse’s practice as a theatre maker in two fields of output that are connected by two factors: first, the presence of the woman patient — hysteric/subfertile respectively — within the clinical gaze; second, the significance of the womb to each pathology. In the treatment of each (explored in Furse’s theatre), lens based technologies play their part, whilst the cultural and medical can be seen to have overlapped to produce specific meaning with regard to Her body and its spectacularity. The article presents an overview of some of the key issues in precisely how the woman’s body becomes spectacular within this prosthetic medical gaze and how the medical — and theatrically designed spaces to represent these — become meaningful and potent proxemics that in turn inform medical/ theatrical spectatorship. Overarching nineteenth-century protocols at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris (where Furse’s Augustine (Big Hysteria) is set) to contemporary imaging technologies used in the treatment of subfertility with Assisted Reproduction Technologies (the topic of her Art of A.R.T. projects), it examines the way in which photography develops through cinema to X-Ray, ultrasound and then 3D/4D ultrasound to ‘capture’ the woman’s body in ways by which she becomes muted and exposed. These occular technologies that extend the gaze, first to an exterior subject and then, eventually, traversing the flesh without knife, lend specific performativity to the ‘patient’ women, within the context of hysterias and reproductive impairments respectively. Finally, issues of suspension of disbelief are addressed. The spectator’s faith in the screen-based image of Her spectacular body is interrupted in Furse’s work, which is also keenly interested in the effect of such imagery on the woman’s sense of Self. The historical and cultural leaps in this article argue that there is indeed a trajectory through the history of medical imaging since the first application of photography to anatomy to the more advanced scoping technologies of medical imaging today, and that in each era, the production of these images remain fraught with cultural implications.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1179/0308018814Z.00000000087

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)

Dates:

DateEvent
21 August 2014Published

Item ID:

17570

Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2016 11:28

Last Modified:

03 Jul 2017 10:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/17570

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