September 2009 - September 2010
Armamentaria is an experimental project to visually unpack surgical instruments as material and metaphorical objects. Using photography, the artist Elaine Duigenan will explore instruments’ contradictory status as the therapeutic extension of the surgeons’ hands and as objects designed to cut living tissue. It will explore the symbolic associations of instruments and their physical properties, as crafted objects and the objects through which the body is crafted. Drawing on the rich historical collections of the Hunterian Museum and bringing together the expertise of surgeons, historians and instrument designers and manufacturers, it will reanimate the instrument as a thing of beauty and dread.
During the project Elaine will be working with John Kirkup FRCS and Mick Crumplin FRCS, the honorary curators of the Hunterian Museum's instrument collection. She will also work with instrument designers and manufacturers. Her work will be exhibited at the College during and after the project. You can follow Elaine's progress through her blog.
Armamentaria is funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.