Narratives of Medical Miniatures

In ‘On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection’, Susan Stewart articulates the miniature’s ability to “skew time and space relations of the everyday lifeworld” and finds its use value transformed into “the infinite time of reverie.” (Stewart, 1993) It has the capacity to create an “other” time, one which prohibits change and the instability of lived reality. Inspired by her theory, I chose the miniature scale in its cherished form to communicate the compelling affairs of modern medicine within a diminutive ordered world, away from external chaos.

Miniature medical models are all receptacles for the patient body. Far from the immaculate condition of branded miniature furniture, these models wear the visible signs of medical use, bearing a dolls house pathos where the imaginary presence of the inflicted patient is implied by the absence of the miniature figurine. On close scrutiny, they are unlikely to arouse the urge to procure and protect in the traditional sense of the miniature treasure, but on first encounter, they appear as intriguing, charming and humble as any other smaller than small artefact.

The absence of a miniature patient body is important. Each miniature medical model is a handheld metaphor for the physician’s rigorous attention on the tools of their trade to treat a diagnosed condition, more than a person embodying pain, which is remote from their patients’ own narrative.

The practice of medicine has historically been founded on the physician-patient relationship and the edifice of techniques, technologies and tools employed by medical practitioners to treat their patients. However, it seems the advancement of such expedients are jeopardising the foundation of medicine by becoming the centre of the physician’s attention, and imparting an impersonalised, sterile and dehumanising experience upon the patient. And the upshot of this rise in machine-like medical practice? Physicians are increasingly unable to distinguish between the human being and the biological system.

At the heart of the miniature works is the exploration of the human body, not soley the object of disease diagnosis, but the chief of illness narrative. The absent miniature patient in form animates such philosophical notions that accuse physicians of not wholly embracing the reality of human embodiment, and treating the corporeal body as a mere container of the mind. Practicing such medicine of distance offers only de-personalised treatment, far removed from the patients own narrative, to leave them feeling unheard, invisible and absent from the entirety of their treatment.

If these miniature medical models had a voice, they would speak the language of pain, anguish, concern, frustration, conflict and dilemma that pervade the experience of medicine for patients, careers, and often physicians.
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Narratives of Medical Miniatures

In ‘On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection’, Susan Stewart articulates the miniature’s ability to “skew time and space relations of the everyday lifeworld” and finds its use value transformed into “the infinite time of reverie.” (Stewart, 1993) It has the capacity to create an “other” time, one which prohibits change and the instability of lived reality. Inspired by her theory, I chose the miniature scale in its cherished form to communicate the compelling affairs of modern medicine within a diminutive ordered world, away from external chaos.

Miniature medical models are all receptacles for the patient body. Far from the immaculate condition of branded miniature furniture, these models wear the visible signs of medical use, bearing a dolls house pathos where the imaginary presence of the inflicted patient is implied by the absence of the miniature figurine. On close scrutiny, they are unlikely to arouse the urge to procure and protect in the traditional sense of the miniature treasure, but on first encounter, they appear as intriguing, charming and humble as any other smaller than small artefact.

The absence of a miniature patient body is important. Each miniature medical model is a handheld metaphor for the physician’s rigorous attention on the tools of their trade to treat a diagnosed condition, more than a person embodying pain, which is remote from their patients’ own narrative.

The practice of medicine has historically been founded on the physician-patient relationship and the edifice of techniques, technologies and tools employed by medical practitioners to treat their patients. However, it seems the advancement of such expedients are jeopardising the foundation of medicine by becoming the centre of the physician’s attention, and imparting an impersonalised, sterile and dehumanising experience upon the patient. And the upshot of this rise in machine-like medical practice? Physicians are increasingly unable to distinguish between the human being and the biological system.

At the heart of the miniature works is the exploration of the human body, not soley the object of disease diagnosis, but the chief of illness narrative. The absent miniature patient in form animates such philosophical notions that accuse physicians of not wholly embracing the reality of human embodiment, and treating the corporeal body as a mere container of the mind. Practicing such medicine of distance offers only de-personalised treatment, far removed from the patients own narrative, to leave them feeling unheard, invisible and absent from the entirety of their treatment.

If these miniature medical models had a voice, they would speak the language of pain, anguish, concern, frustration, conflict and dilemma that pervade the experience of medicine for patients, careers, and often physicians.
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer: