Project Image

Revealing Bodies at the Exploratorium in San Francisco won the American Associations of Museums 2001 annual exhibition competition. I served as co-director of the project with Melissa Alexander and an in-house team.It was an experimental exhibition that explored the messages and meanings found in biomedical and anatomical representations of human bodies. It presented what happens when these images are removed from their original context and reinterpreted for other purposes such as art, advertising and politics. The exhibition also examined how the culture and point of view of the original creator may have shaped the image and what happens to this intent with the iterations of time and societal change. Because of the variety of images and objects and the inclusion of sensitive material and human remains, we worked with many advisors and the community to insure that we were interpreting and exhibiting the material in a manner that addressed the complex nature of the material without being disrespectful.

Our exhibition messages were complex, so we included a variety of ways into the material. In 3500 square feet the exhibition was a mix of artworks, specially commissioned art installations, artifacts, medical specimens, over a dozen interactive exhibits, and new technologies incorporating controversial biometrics software and texts. It was accompanied by an extensive series of public programs and a series of webcasts. We included specific activities and interactive exhibits targeted to engage young children or family groups and we designed special protected viewing areas within the exhibit space for more sensitive objects. At the exit of the exhibition we included a feed back station where visitors could write their comments or feelings about the exhibition.Tracking and timing studies showed that visitors stayed twice as long in this exhibition than in 5 previous temporary exhibitions.