Forensic Views of the Body
View Upon the Body
LocationNational Library of Medicine, NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD
Exhibition DesignHoward + Revis
As an overture to an exhibition about the history of forensic medicine, visitors first encounter a draped body on an examining table backed by a floor-to-ceiling video projection.
Over the centuries, physicians, surgeons, and other professionals have struggled to develop scientific methods that translate views of bodies and body parts into “visible proofs” that can persuade judges, juries, and the public to take them as evidential facts. The rich motion graphics in this large-scale video projection blend shadow play and archival imagery to conjure the many scenes, specialists, and phases a body goes through to make that visible proof. The shadows of medical examiners in the video blend with the real shadows of passing visitors, helping fuel curiosity and wonder as the exhibition begins.
Press & AwardsCommunication Arts, Exhibit of the Day, May 5, 2008
In collaboration with exhibition designers Howard Revis, Portland-based Second Story Interactive designed and developed the video installations and interactive autopsy slab. Visitors are engaged with interactivity through media elements that are well integrated into the exhibition, creating a multisensory experience: the shadows of medical examiners behind the body blend with those of passing visitors; video screens are embedded in cases and walls; projectors are hidden from view; and an interactive autopsy slab with a draped body engages visitors with autopsy procedures and supporting cases on a life-size figure.American Association of Museums Muse Awards, Silver, Interpretive Interactive Installations, 2007
The history of forensic medicine is brought to life in this exhibition through an innovative interactive autopsy slab, video presentations, and other interactives. The autopsy slab is creatively designed to engage groups of visitors, who can share the experience of autopsy procedures on a life-size scale. The variety of interactives within the exhibition creates a multi-sensory experience. Design and production quality meet extremely high standards. The interactives are extremely user-friendly and we imagine them to be very appealing to both teenagers and adults.I.D., Annual Design Review, Design Distinction, 2007
The site is packed with arresting material, from video footage showing an autopsy being performed to written histories on such topics as the role of forensic science in exacting justice after Argentina’s Dirty War. Mok praised the seamlessness of the user experience and the integration of media elements, while Wishart said simply, ‘I could spend hours and hours here.’Yahoo!, Pick of the Day, March 27, 2006
It’s true that dead bodies don’t tell tales, but Visible Proofs will persuade any jury—or armchair detective—of the value of forensic medicine.“Exhibit Depicts Theatrical Side of Forensic Science,” NPR, Weekend Edition, Christopher Joyce, March 25, 2006
There is always a theatrical element in forensics, and that’s one of the themes of the show—visible proofs. It’s the idea that it’s not enough to make a proof that’s persuasive in an argument, you have to show it.“National Library of Medicine Exhibit Gives Close Look into Death,” The Gazette, Maryland Community Newspaper, Chris Williams, March 1, 2006
Almost as compelling as the stories behind the various displays is the manner in which they are presented. A metal table serves as a ‘virtual autopsy,’ with a high-resolution touch-screen displaying a computer-animated cadaver as it goes through the process. A nearby display includes an actual autopsy training video, illustrating the most graphic details of the anatomical dissection.“Solving Puzzles with Body Parts as the Pieces,” New York Times, Amanda Schaffer, February 28, 2006
A white sheet shrouds an autopsy table, one of the first things you see as you enter Visible Proofs, a new exhibit that details the rise of forensic science as an authoritative field, with specialized tools for pinpointing whodunit (and when and how).“Perform Virtual Autopsy At ‘Visual Proofs’ Exhibit,” WBAL TV Baltimore, NBC, February 16, 2006
Visitors can also perform a virtual autopsy. ‘It sort of gives an autopsy for one to experience death and to see human remains,’ exhibit curator Mike Sappol said.“Killer Instincts,” Washington Post, Suz Redfearn, February 14, 2006
The interactive displays are where things really get interesting.
- JD Hooge
- Motion Designer
- Alphonse Swinehart
- Video Engineer
- Danny Rosenberg
- A/V Editing & Production
- Alphonse Swinehart
- Production Assistant
- Alex Aronson
- Quality Assurance
- Jennifer Guibord
- A/V Integration
- Blair Dubilier & Associates
- Exhibit Design
© 2015 Second Story, Inc.