The Medical Gaze - 2023

Materials: Digitally scanned Lithographs / Programming code / Camera

Alt Video Description: A 60x140 grid of different eyes in black and white, a webcam view of the watcher is shown in the top left corner. The pupils of the eyes follow the watcher as the move/roll around the webcams view. At points the eyes loose track of the person and default to staring off into space. Upon detecting the person again they rapidly track them.

An interactive gazing installation, made from cutting up the prestige of doctors lithograph portraits taken from the historical medical archive of the Wellcome Trust Collection. Through digital collage and animation presenting an alternative, personal and patient oriented perspective on the historical and still prevalent dehumanising medical gaze. A way of seeing that ignores the person or their desires and fixates on the body to be "fixed" to conform.


The project started as an exporation of the Wellcome Trust archive as a found material through programming code & face detection to deconstruct and re-create work that connected with my own experiences of disability. I explored search terms around wheelchair and mobility aids focused on the image archive. While my intention was not to find doctors the results where dominated by portraits of doctors. It became apparent through analysing the images using facial recognition the difference in the portrayal of the suffering of the patient and the prestige of doctors within the collection. This connected strongly with my own experiences of the dehumanising medical gaze, being treated as a medical problem to be fixed without regard to the individual or their desires.

A 80x80 grid of squares containing a vast collection of faces. Most have a shiny silver color to them, while some are from cartoons or caricatures.
Wellcome Trust Archive - Faces
A 24x24 grid of squares containing faces. Most are doctors faces and have a silver like dot pattern to them which is characteristic of Lithography.
The Doctor/Patient contrast
A grid of 80x30 squares of eyes of various styles from pictures, cartoons & photographs.
First non-animated attempts to create a feeling of the Medical Gaze


Early R&D work was facilitated by a workshop run by the Wellcome Trust Archive and moderated by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists.