The Anatomy Project

The Anatomy Museum I




The Anatomy Museum II



The Anatomy Museum utilises an approach called ‘body-site-writing’. This is an embodied process of writing that expands upon Jane Rendell’s (2010) method of ‘site-writing’ by developing ways that writing can be applied as a design tool for investigating the body-site through alternate observational, analytical, subjective, and speculative perspectives to build an  understanding of it.

In the anatomy and pathology museum, body-site-writing enables observation of the relationship between two types of hands – the designer-researcher’s hand, and the anatomised plastinated hands in the museum’s collection – in conjunction with other research practices including drawing, touching, and looking.

The project explores ways that knowledges about and through bodies is articulated, and how these types of understandings and perceptions are developed. Relationships between embodied experiences and human anatomy and pathology are examined through a phenomenological framework and observational methods are used to create textual artefacts that build a greater understanding of different ways bodies are known and perceived.

The Anatomy Museum I documents an initial visit to Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology,  during a public open day, and the immediate impressions while viewing the displays and carefully handling specimens within the collection.

The Anatomy Museum II  is comprised of five textual portraits of plastinated hands within the museum’s collection. Annotations written during an intensive observation period are arranged into vignettes that describe particular qualities emerging during the observation and data analysis: touch/feel, appearance, comparative descriptions, objective descriptions, and speculation.


References: Rendell, J 2010, Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London.


With thanks to The University of Melbourne, Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, and curator Dr Ryan Jefferies.