Contemporary Art in Health Care Environments

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Still image (of a hand in a surgical glove) from Matters of the Heart

Still image from Matters of the Heart (2016)

Christina Lammer, Research Sociologist, Collaborative Artist and

For her presentation, the Vienna-based research sociologist, collaborative artist and filmmaker Christina Lammer introduced a video and 16mm film footage that she produced in the operating rooms in the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology and Heart Surgery units at the Medical University in Vienna as part of her work Performing Surgery (2015-2018). In particular, she focused on her fascination with what Visual Studies Professor Lisa Cartwright calls “clinical intimacy” – surgeons feeling empathy for their patients while their hands save lives. In her discussion of her series of 16mm short movies and wire objects, she compared the gestures of surgeons in various surgical fields while combining aesthetic theory with art-based fieldwork in surgery. She also spoke about her research on empathy in the clinical context, exploring interpersonal encounters in a sensory way to show that feelings are to a certain extent hidden by our physical constitutions. Thus, her works aim at unveiling sensations, intimacy and pathos in the world of surgery.