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Rearranging Faces

Audiences can try on ‘face corsets’, handle face implants and look at the history of facial surgery through models and images from the First World War at this thought-provoking object handling and discussion evening. The evening will also mark the launch of the Future Face book by Sandra Kemp which is accompanying the Wellcome Trust exhibition at the Science Museum.

Would wearing a face corset change how you feel about your identity? Join an artist, scientist and historical curator for a tour of thought-provoking medical objects from the past, present and future.

Can you tell who you are from looking in the mirror? What if your face were to be rearranged in some way? Artist Paddy Hartley has created unique face corsets that alter the shape of the wearer's face and will be demonstrating these on the audience. Through the corsets, Hartley examines perceptions of beauty and alternative means of achieving the wearer's ideals of perfection.

The corsets have been developed with Ian Thompson from the tissue-engineering group at Imperial College London, who uses cutting-edge material implants to repair facial injuries. Ian's research involves making and refining bioactive glass implants to reconstruct faces badly damaged by accidents or surgery. Bioactive glass has a very similar composition to bone, which encourages surrounding bone to grow around it. Ian will talk about these implants and how, through his collaboration with Paddy, science and art have converged to develop pioneering techniques.

Andrew Bamji, an expert on the historical origins of facial reconstruction and historical curator of the Gillies Archive, Queen Mary's Hospital, will look at the history of facial surgery. Queen Mary's was one of the pioneering hospitals performing plastic surgery of the face between 1917 and 1925. The Gillies Archive documents the pioneering facial reconstruction work of Dr Gillies during the First World War. It holds many facial plaster casts of the treated serviceman and illustrations and photographs documenting facial injury during the war. Andrew will show some of these artefacts and talk about his collaboration with Paddy and Ian.

Join Paddy, Ian and Andrew at this object handling and discussion evening. You'll be able to try on the face corsets, handle the bio-implants, watch footage of them in the making and find out more about the inspiration behind them.


Artist Paddy Hartley | talks | www
Dr Ian Thompson | talks
Dr Andrew Bamji | talks | www


Date and Time:

5 October 2004 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
+44 20 79 42 40 40
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Organised by:

Science Museum
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Available from:

Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked on: 020 7942 4040 or tickets@danacentre.org.uk

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