Impress i on
For the more frequently we interrupt someone in the act of acting,
the more gestures result.
• • • Walter Benjamin, “What Is Epic Theater?”
A historical scene that launched this book is the cadaver on the autopsy table—
anchoring the diagnostic gaze. I wondered if the continued prestige of lesion
hunting today, in the apparent absence of the cadaver, is paradoxical.
I asked how the cadaver could have become a lost object for contemporary
medicine. Much lesion ﬁnding in today’s hospital is organized not around
scalpel-cuts of the pathologist but around virtual cuts of the scanner. ct scan-
ning unfolds the primal scene of the cadaver on the autopsy table into two
scenes: that of a patient’s body on the scanner table (patiently emulating the
cadaver); and that of docs at the viewbox (paging through a corpus of slices).
The doc-at-viewbox scene became a stereotypical picture of doctoring: a logo
of professional expertise, a fetish of healthcare consumerism.
But the ct Suite is a more intricated set of scenes than just these two. I have
represented suites of practice distributed through a suite of rooms. Here and