Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics

Program in Arts, Humanities and Medicine Events

A Heaping Dose of Creativity: Medicine and the Arts

May 8, 2013
Richard Kogan MD

 Program
(1) Arts and Health: Crossing Campus Drive
Audrey Shafer, MD

(2) Renee Magritte: When Sleeping Dogs Dream
Art as an Antidote to Extreme Adversity
Hans Steiner, MD

(3) The Medical Body: From Anna Halprin to Ann Carlson
Janice Ross, PhD and Ann Carlson

Brief descriptions of Talks and Bios

(1) Arts and Health: Crossing Campus Drive
Presenter: Audrey Shafer, M.D.

Both the arts and healthcare are fertile areas to explore the meanings of life, embodiment, creativity and innovation. The new Stanford Arts District, rising in such close proximity to the medical school, hospitals and research centers, provides a marvelous opportunity to delve into the many ways in which the arts and health interweave. In these introductory remarks, Dr. Shafer will examine the human condition through the lenses of artists, patients and health care workers. In particular, she will explore the relationship of health care workers and writing, and how arts spaces and hospitals can be places of healing and communication, yet also institutions of power and exclusion.

Bio:

Audrey Shafer, MD is Professor of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine/VA; staff anesthesiologist, Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System; and Director, Arts, Humanities, and Medicine Program, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. Born in Philadelphia, she studied at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania for biochemistry, medicine and anesthesia training, respectively. She is associate editor, Medical Humanities – BMJ and poetry editor, Journal of Medical Humanities. She co-directs the scholarly concentration in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities, teaches creative writing for medical students, and strives to create an environment at the medical school which encourages creative exploration, collaboration and scholarly work in medical humanities. She is a founding member of Stanford Pegasus Physician Writers. Her poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies and she is the author of The Mailbox (Random House, 2006), a story about post-traumatic stress in Vietnam veterans.

(2) Renee Magritte: When Sleeping Dogs Dream
Art as an Antidote to Extreme Adversity

Presenter: Hans Steiner, M.D .

As a youth Renee Magritte encountered the dramatic death of his mother. Fending off the impact of this profoundly saddening event, he steeled himself, facing the world with equanimity. His stoical response was potentiated by his artistic gifts. However, as we will see, the events left a deep and lasting scar on his psyche that kept on emerging in his paintings. His art helped him contain, but not eradicate the event. At the end of his life, he wished he had not been so preoccupied with the impact of his mother's suicide. This talk explores the role of the motivational unconscious in human adjustment. Utilizing the visible trails of tragedy in Magritte's paintings, the case will be made for the importance of psychiatry's healing power in the face of extreme adversity.

Bio:

Hans Steiner, M.D. is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Human Development at the Stanford University, School of Medicine. He is an international expert on psychiatric trauma, aggression and violence. He has published over 500 books, articles, reviews and research abstracts. He regularly provides keynote addresses to professional audiences in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. He is a founding Member of the Pegasus Physicians at Stanford, a group of doctors who also write creatively. Born in Vienna, Austria, he has taught at Stanford since 1978. He continues to teach at Stanford and maintains a selective private practice in Palo Alto. Details about Dr. Steiner, his practice and his publications and creative writing can be found on his website www.hanssteiner.com.

(3) The Medical Body: From Anna Halprin to Ann Carlson
Presenters:
Janice Ross, PhD and Ann Carlson


Choreographers and medical professionals regard the body in parallel yet often competing ways. Both see the body as a system of information that often bears signs of its interior condition through gestures and behaviors. For the medical professional this display of illness is usually regarded as reflexive. The choreographer, in contrast, takes these spontaneous actions and uses them as part of a malleable movement vocabulary to reshaped to be intentionally expressive. Historically psychological illness has been the disease most frequently depicted through dance, but more recently contemporary choreographers have focused on how the presence of illness in a body can recontour its identity through gestures.

This talk starts with a look at Anna Halprin, a choreographer who in the 1980s pioneered creating dances for bodies inhabited by Cancer or AIDS. It then moves to the work of choreographer Ann Carlson who offers a live preview of The Symphonic Body/Medicine a new dance investigating how the labor of practicing medicine is inscribed upon the bodies of members of the Stanford University Medical Community. This live performance explores how gestures emerge from a body that understands the workings of bodily systems. It questions how that knowledge alters, influences or reveals itself in and through movement.

Bios:
Janice Ross
Janice Ross, Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies Department, and Director, Dance Division, at Stanford University, is the author of four books including Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance, (UC Press 2007), Her awards include Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and her research interests focus on understanding bodily politics.

Ann Carlson
Ann Carlson is a choreographer, performer and conceptual artist whose award winning works have been performed and exhibited in performance spaces, galleries, ponds, horse arenas, and mountainsides, nationally and internationally. Currently a visiting artist at Stanford University, Carlson is working on "The Symphonic Body,” a performance premiering at the new Bing Concert Hall, May 29, 2013.

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