Grief and the Medical Humanities

Diana Novaceanu // The ultimate goal of all art is relief from suffering and the rising above it. (Gustav Mahler)  One sunny day, towards the end of March, I suffered the loss of someone very dear to me. It had not been unexpected; I had the privilege to say good-bye in person. Everything medically possible…

He says he’s never been to Costa Rica …

Dr Jac Saorsa, Artist-in-Residence// ‘I tell him all about Cyprus, and Lisbon, and Costa Rica … I tell him about the small town on the Caribbean coast called Puerto Viejo, where the jungle meets the sea with only a dirt road and a beach of pure black carbon sand in between … He says he’s…

Cultivating Life After Death

Avril Tynan // “Death is not an event in life,” wrote philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in the early 20th century, “We do not live to experience death” (6.4311). Of course, Wittgenstein could not know that 100 years later we would be living through a pandemic, but if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that death…

Pedagogy of the Pandemic: Narrative Medicine and Radical Empathy

Sayantani DasGupta, Author // Ibraim Nascimento, Painter // There is a rupture in higher education and in that rupture is an opportunity. As novelist Arundhati Roy (2020) has written, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway…

Utera-Net as a Means to Revolt

Swati Joshi // The word ornament brings to mind the image of an entity that is stereotypically designated for “embellishment” (Rosenbauer 1947, 222). While analyzing ornaments as beautifying agents, we recall the inseparability of beauty and gaze, and that the object of beauty (whether human or non-human) surrenders to the gaze of the observer. The…

Feeling Hot? Charting the Highs and Lows of Past and Present Fevers

Diana Novaceanu // Throughout the ages, fever has been a constant presence on an individual and collective scale, an “unavoidable part of everyday domestic experience” (Rosenberg, VIII).  The concept of fever has been reworked and reshaped with the gradual change of medical discourse. Moreover, fever effortlessly crossed into the metaphorical realm: its distorted sensory perception seemed…

The Empathy Chamber

Bennett Kuhn // Around us were dusty stacks of forgotten hardcover books and crowd members circulating in the now-defunct Beaumont Warehouse venue in West Philly. The three-night immersive multimedia art project called Going There was in full swing, and a short queue led up to the table where I sat with two synthesizers welcoming strangers…

Can Art Save? Liberal Humanism, Empathy, and the “Use” of Creativity — Part III

Sneha Mantri // This is the last in a 3-part series examining the “usefulness” of creativity through the lens of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. Part 1 contextualized the students’ art as a manifestation of Romantic tropes; Part 2  took on the climactic, Gothic confrontation between the students and their former headmistress. This final section…

The World We See – Part 6: Art that Moves, in More Ways than One

Lara Boyle // At first glance, Naum Gabo’s Kinetic Construction is nothing special. A thin, motionless steel rod extends from a pit located in the base of a black square. With the push of a button, however, the rod springs to life. The rod wiggles back and forth as a motor beneath the base whirs with…