The Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
19 S. 22nd Street
9:00am to 5:00pm
The symposium will take place on the 2nd floor. Admission to the Mütter Museum exhibits will require separate admission.

9:00 a.m.: Introduction by Robert D. Hicks, Director of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Welcomes from Joanna Poses and Dwight Swanson

9:15a.m.–10:45a.m. First Session. Moderator: Dan Streible

Scott Curtis, “Between Photography and Film: Early Uses of Medical Cinematography”
From the beginning, medical researchers and physicians eagerly appropriated the new technology of motion pictures. For some, especially those interested in a more "scientific" approach to medicine, film represented an improvement upon and transformation of serial photography--that is, they regarded motion pictures as a series of still images. Others extended medical photography's more common use as documentary evidence to their application of cinema. Still others emphasized the spectacular and moving quality of the cinematic image in their promotion of film as an educational tool, often distinguishing it from photography. This presentation, then, will survey the professional perceptions and uses of medical cinematography in its first two decades and compare those uses to the functions, genres, and venues of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century medical photography.

Michael Sappol, “Difficult Subjects: Working with Films from the Collection of the National Library of Medicine”
Historical medical film is notable for its representation and documentation of "difficult subjects"—the interior of the body, death, disgfigurement, radical medical intervention, infliction of pain on patients and research subjects, behavioral disturbance, venereal disease, emotional and physical distress, etc. Although publicly available, such films are rarely screened and, as a result, rarely studied. This presentation will screen a selection of these difficult films, explore their unique history, uses and abuses, effects on viewers, and the larger issues that they raise.

10:45 a.m.–11:00 a.m.: Break

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.:
Second Session
Barbara Hammer and Patti Doyen, “Complexities and Enigmas of Cinefluorography in the work of Dr. James Sibley Watson and Colleagues”

This presentation will explore through Watson et. al.'s text and images the discoveries and problems of the Rochester medical team that led to mechanical inventions that enabled views of the interior of the human body. The uses and abuses of the techniques will be highlighted as well as the artistic curiosities Watson pursued in spectacles that had no scientific purpose.

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: Lunch Break

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.:
Third Session
Kirsten Ostherr, “‘Spectacular Problems in Surgery’: Medical Motion Pictures at the American College of Surgeons”

Early in the twentieth century, the American College of Surgeons was a leading national force in the use of motion pictures for educational purposes. This movement encompassed all facets of the motion picture industry (ranging from education to entertainment), and established the ACS as a central institution in the history of cinema. Moreover, the ACS became an important vehicle for international medical education through motion pictures after World War II, and this aspect of ACS activities provides an important and unique perspective on the varied global uses of medical media in the postwar era. This presentation will address the medical motion pictures produced, reviewed, distributed, and exhibited by the ACS, from the late 1920s to the present. The talk will be based on research at the American College of Surgeons archive, which contains paper records related to a vast range of medical motion pictures. These films were primarily technical medical films produced by specialists for other specialists, as well as for medical student and resident training. Since the ACS films were concerned not only with medical education but also with the public image of the medical profession, this history serves a critical function in assessing the role of visual images in shaping the popular and specialist cultures of medicine throughout the twentieth century.

1:45 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: Fourth Session. Moderator: Mara Mills

Devin Orgeron, “Edgar Ulmer and the National Tuberculosis Association: Fighting Faith in the War Against TB”
From the late 1930s through the early 1940s, well-known “B” movie director Edgar Ulmer (sometimes called the King of PRC) directed eight health shorts for the National Tuberculosis Association. A strain of fatal contamination runs though all of Ulmer’s work and is brilliantly, if oddly articulated in these tuberculosis films, many of which are aimed at specific American racial minorities and the inadequacies of their sometimes imported faith in the face of the disease. Along with their fit within Ulmer’s career, I hope to illustrate the role these films played in shaping 1930s/1940s notions of race, religion, and disease.

Mara Mills, “Telephone Operator, Camera-Operator: Laryngoscopy and High Speed Motion Pictures at Bell Labs”
During the early twentieth century, telephone engineers became authorities on psychoacoustics and otolaryngology. In the interests of visualizing speech production and the movement of circuit components, they also made key contributions to high speed motion picture photography. This talk will survey the history of laryngoscopy through the 1940s, concluding with a few remarks about the nature of the "telephonic gaze."

Oliver Gaycken, "The Flow of Life: Moving Images of Magnified Blood"
A staple of medical moving-image presentations was the spectacle of blood as seen under a microscope projected onto a screen. This talk will consider some examples of this tradition that range from nineteenth-century lantern lectures to reminiscences of researchers to the incorporation of this genre into the medical motion picture.

3:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m.: Break

3:45 p.m.–4:45 p.m.: Fifth Session. Moderator: Lance Wahlert

Timothy Wisniewski, “Research, education, and patient care: archival medical film collections at academic health institutions”
This presentation will focus on the institutional context of archival film collections produced within academic health centers, using the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions as the primary example. The presentation will look at historical examples of centralized and decentralized models of film production at Johns Hopkins, and compare genres of medical film as produced for educational, clinical, or biomedical research purposes. Finally, the presentation will discuss the value of making these often unprocessed or restricted collections accessible for research and use by diverse groups of users.

R. Nick Bryan, M.D., “The Body Visible”

While mankind has always been driven by morbid curiosity to see inside its own body, medical practitioners have had a more urgent need to do so – their business lies there-in. The spatial complexity of the body demands imaging not only for diagnosis but for successful treatment. However, the unaided human visual system that depends on visible light cannot see below the skin. Prior to Rontgen’s discovery of x-rays in 1895, the interior of the body could be imaged only by cutting through the skin and ‘letting the light in.’ Unfortunately, until the late 19th Century, such invasive medical imaging was usually performed after or immediately prior to death. Despite an initially slow and crude start with ‘Rontgenography’, the eternal goal of real time, safe, non-invasive, detailed imaging of the living human body has come to dramatic fruition in the past decade. With modern CT, nuclear, MR and ultrasound scanners, vivid static as well as moving images of all major organ systems are now routinely performed, as will be illustrated by videos of, “My Body”, a self-exposé by the presenter.

 4:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m.: Closing Discussions