September 2009 - September 2010
Armamentaria was an experimental project to visually unpack surgical instruments as material and metaphorical objects. Using photography, the artist Elaine Duigenan explored instruments’ contradictory status as the therapeutic extension of the surgeons’ hands and as objects designed to cut living tissue. It explored 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 reanimated the instrument as a thing of beauty and dread.
During the project Elaine worked with John Kirkup FRCS and Mick Crumplin FRCS, the honorary curators of the Hunterian Museum's instrument collection. She also worked with instrument designers and manufacturers. Her work was be exhibited at the College during and after the project. Elaine's progress could be followed through her blog.
Armamentaria was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.