Death Drives | Annabel Wharton, “Body Model”

March 31, 2019
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Though digital models are now dominant in the academy, they have not entirely displaced older model-types. A cadaver donated by its deceased inhabitant to science, for example, may well function as both an auratic and an analog model. Identified as "first patients" and "silent teachers," cadavers are non-digital models still essential to medical training. The survival of auratic and analog models even in laboratories suggests some of the limitations of algorithms for the understanding of social bodies. This lecture was a part of the conference, “Death Drives, or Thinking with the Corpse,” sponsored by Humanities Futures.

ANNABEL WHARTON, William B. Hamilton Professor of Art History, Duke University, received her Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute. In 2015, she was the Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale School of Architecture. Initially her research focused on Late Ancient and Byzantine art and culture but with Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture (Chicago), she began to investigate the effects of modernity on ancient landscapes. She has combined her pre-Modern and Modern interests in Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks (Chicago) and Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives of Buildings (Minnesota). Continuing to investigate the agency of things, she has begun work on a new book project treating models—conceptual and material, analog and digital, tentatively titled Model Theory: Buildings, Pie Charts, Algorithms.’