Becoming Image: Medicine and the Algorithmic Gaze 

Call For Papers and Artist Submissions 

An interdisciplinary Symposium 23 May 2018 at UCL 


Liz Orton, visual artist, Digital Insides and London College of Communication

Dr Aaron Parkhurst, Department of Anthropology, UCL

Dr Timothy Carroll, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology, UCL

Professor Steve Halligan, Director of the Centre for Medical Imaging, UCL


The history of medicine can be understood as an ongoing endeavour to comprehensively visualize the body and its diseases. From the eighteenth-century onwards, going into the body has meant going via the image. Contemporary imaging technologies produce bodies as a series of xyz points that can be reconstructed, viewed and analysed from all dimensions on the screen, like fully navigable territories. These bodies can be simultaneously process and object; surface and depth; skin, bone, membrane and meatus.

Computer algorithms can detect the smallest variations in the body’s code, discerning possible abnormalities and aiding diagnosis. And such software is transforming the body and the space of medical thought itself. The ‘Becoming Image’ symposium will bring together visual artists, computer scientists, radiologists, cultural anthropologists and philosophers to consider the impact of new imaging technologies on the body. New imaging technologies are more than new tools for investigation of the body – they make possible new conceptual forms.


The organisers invite papers that may explore – or art submissions related to – the following themes: – the ways in which machines process and remodel the medical body as an informational field – the algorithmic body, and how it is measured, anticipated, understood, managed, and planned for in medical contexts – the effects of computerised vision on patient experiences and outcomes – the potential of imaging techniques, such as VR, in therapy and recovery – the biopolitics of machine learning in healthcare – the body as a spatial field, and the ethics of the computer gaze in medicine – the potential of medical images and medical image archives – the transformative impact of imaging technology on the future of healthcare, and on the body itself.


To submit a proposal to present a paper email an abstract (300 words, plus title) to Liz Orton ( and Timothy Carroll ( To submit a proposal to present an artist’s project email a summary (300 words plus 5 jpegs at 1200 pixels longest side at 72dpi or 2 video links).


Proposals must be submitted by 1 April 2018, and proposal acceptance will be decided by 15 April.