Workshop

On Wednesday Phaedra organized a workshop at the Royal Free Hospital with about a dozen people (unfortunately I don’t remember everyone’s names).

Sound artist Hardi Kurda started out talking about his Diagnosis Machine, where he uses an EKG as a musical instrument. It brought me back to sitting with loved ones in hospital rooms and the harsh sounds and appearances of the surrounding body monitors. Many were attached through various invasive technologies—IV’s, venous ports, catheters—making visible and amplifying their internal workings.

Gavin Jell got up to talk about his work with biomaterials. As with yesterday’s kickoff meeting, we spent a lot of time talking about what temporary implant could mean. If glasses are a prosthetic, are contact lenses an implant? If an implant is designed to be replaced by human cells (as with bone scaffolding), is it temporary. Gavin felt that permanent vs biodegradable might be a more useful distinction than permanent vs temporary. He showed slides of some advances in implants, but we didn’t get much of chance to learn about them, so he referred me to a book by David Williams, and seemed open to follow-up questions if I have them.

Then Tom Tlalim, another sound artist who is currently in residence at Victoria and Albert Museum, talked about his project there, co-designing sound art with people who have cochlear implants. We learned a lot about these devices, how they might sound, how they’ve improved, the controversy in the deaf community surrounding their use, and Tom’s process. I’m eager to see what he comes up with.

Finally, Marilena Loizidou, gave us a tour of the labs. They are very similar to the labs at Harvard Medical School where I was in residence—postdocs, chemicals, centrifuges, microscopes, incubators, etc.—but they also have oscilloscopes and 3d printers. Nat and I got a chance to talk at length with Marilena about her work with Lipid drug-delivery systems, gold nanoparticles, and 3d tumors. Cool stuff.

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