Tag Archives: london

EXHIBITION: Medicine Man and Medicine Now (Wellcome Collection)

23 Aug
  • ‘Medicine Now’ reflects the experiences and interests of scientists, doctors and patients since Henry Wellcome’s death in 1936.
  • The main topics examined are: the body, genomes, malaria, obesity and the experience of medicine.
  • Items exhibited include artistic responses to the issues presented.
  • My favourite works were by Irish/German artist MICHEAL HOPKINS. With white ink on slate Hopkins has created abstract x-ray compositions. The fact that they are slightly abstracted makes them really interesting for me because they look like they could be real x-rays but its uncertain what bones or creature they’re depicting.

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  • SENSE was a sculpture by ANNIE CATTREL illustrating the activity patterns of the human brain as it responds to the five senses.

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  • ‘Medicine Man’ is a vast stockpile of evidence about our universal interest in health and the body.
  • The objects exhibited are from Henry Wellcome’s own collection. They range from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon’s toothbrush to George III’s hair.
  • It also provides and very different perspective on some of our own obsessions with medicine and health.
  • Some of the objects are examined by a variety of commentators from different backgrounds, to show that one object can mean many different things and tell many different stories.

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  • The exhibition also contains real human remains, which I find cool and interesting to look at. I also like the display of past instruments used in operations and amputations.  

Exhibition: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion (British Library)

19 Aug

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word propaganda is lies. I think of corrupt governments spreading lies about the enemy to justify wars and other actions. But the current Propaganda exhibition at the British Library has shown me that as the 1950s French political thinker Jacques Driencourt declared, nearly “everything is propaganda”.
The exhibition’s examples of propaganda vary from a bronze coin issued in 290BC bearing the head of Alexander the Great portrayed as Heracles, son of Zeus, to World War two posters, then government health campaigns and even twitter feeds. Together these examples describe propaganda as any efforts to influence beliefs and behaviour.
The exhibition explores the origins, strategies and consequences of state propaganda ending with how digital technology has provided new routes for states to communicate but has also provided new ways for people to challenge and criticise state messages. Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and online blogs, make everyone a potential propagandist!
Here are a couple of examples from the exhibition that I found interesting or amusing:

‘Personality Identification’ playing cards. Used by soldiers in the Iraq war to help them remember faces and names of different enemy members.

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Superman Bosnian comic book.
This Bosnian comic book cover was used to highlight the plight of land mines in the country. It shows Superman swooping in to save two boys hunting for war souvenirs in a minefield. It was later band however, when children actually went looking for land mines hoping that they would meet superman and he would come to their rescue!

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I also bought a book whilst at the museum: George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’