Sunday, January 29, 2012

inspiring postal and museum spaces

Occasionally you come across some inspiring spaces, glimpsed via the internet, that you just have to share. Jennie Hinchcliff's studio and the Morbid Anatomy Library are two of these. Jennie's studio celebrates all that is wonderful about sending post, whereas the anatomy library is a beautifully collated collection of medical and scientific objects.

The postal art studio

For those unfamiliar with Jennie Hinchcliff''s blog, Every Day Should be a Red Letter Day, this is a fantastic site to stir your creative postal energy. After reading a few posts you will be itching to switch off the laptop and pick up a pen, a nice sheet of paper, your favourite stamp and write to a friend. Recently Jennie posted photos of her studio in construction, providing a glimpse into her own postal world:

The library of curious medical objects

The Morbid Anatomy blog provides a neverending source of inspiration through posts about taxidermy, anatomical art, surgical history and hundreds of other topics in the mysterious realm of medicine and science. A visit to this website, in particularly the comprehensive list of medical museums, is always a must before I travel. The Morbid Anatomy Library is a recent extension of the blog. Housed in Brooklyn, New York and open only by appointment (email morbidanatomy[at] to arrange), this is an inspiring research space for the curious:

Photos from Everyday Should be a Red Letter Day and Morbid Anatomy used with kind permission of Jennie Hinchcliff and Joanna Ebenstein.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

fieldwork in the museum

If you happen to be in Frankfurt between now and September you will be able to see Object Atlas, the first exhibition in the recently rennovated Weltkulturen Museum. On display will be ethnographic objects, contemporary artworks and historical drawings, with an accompanying exhibition catalogue containing essays by Richard Sennett and Paul Rabinow amongst others.

And if you happen to in Frankfurt tonight, you can go to the grand opening, from 7pm!

Now where is my pneumatic tube transportation to whizz me to Frankfurt?

Friday, January 20, 2012

pneumatic post art of the week 5

Kubische constructie by André Volten

(Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands, 1968)

Image of from Paul Chanthapanya's Flikr photostream.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

old tubes for new hospitals

While old hospitals are being rennovated pneumatically in order to keep up the technological demands of clinical work (see last week's post), new hospital buildings are also being constructed to incorporate pneumatic systems in their infrastructure, from the beginning.

Recent examples of new hospitals with new pneumatic systems include McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and the St Anthony hospitals in Midwest City and Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, USA. The technology is seen as efficient and time saving. Samples sent via the pneumatic tube system in the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, UK, save "vital time", while a new robotic letter sorting system in the hospital is processing letters at "lightening speed". In the new Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, USA and the new Orange Regional Medical Centre in New York, USA, pneumatic tubes are described as state-of-the-art medical technologies. While pneumatic tubes have been state-of-the-art for some centuries now, these computerised iterations are fascinating to consider in terms of how they adapt to, alter, interrupt and facilitate medical work in contemporary hospitals.

Next week: installing pneumatic systems in new wards in old buildings. How do pneumatic systems connect the past and the present?

This photo, from Flikr, shows a steamfitter for SwissLog checking pneumatic piping for dents. It is part of a series of photos taken by Marc Barnes documenting the installation of pneumatic pipes and other construction work at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Oaks Pavilion, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia (USA).

Friday, January 13, 2012

pneumatic post art of the week 4

Re/Search: Bread and Butter with the ever present Question of How to define the difference between a Baguette and a Croissant (II) by Serge Spitzer

(Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2010)

Photo from workflo's photostream

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new tubes for old hospitals

Hospital architecture has to constantly evolve with medical technology. It has been said that a hospital is already outdated by the time it is built. New imaging techniques mean new radiological suites, laproscopic surgery calls for different operating room spaces, and green star ratings requires modifications in temperature control, water management and waste disposal. Existing pneumatic tube systems are updated, and installed, adapting to the needs of the hospital.

New wards in hospitals are being installed with pneumatic tubes, such as at Vista Health System, in Waukegan, Illinois (USA), where a new pneumatic tube system in the Progressive Care Unit delivers "supplies and medical documents directly to the nurses station". In Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu (India), a new pneumatic tube system not only "helped reduce medication errors, mix-up of laboratory samples, sample misplacement" but also supposedly "improved the working relationship amongst staff in the clinical support areas". Since the tubes have also led to a "silent" pharmacy and laboratory, with minimal interaction between staff and patient assistants (moving in and out in the street shoes), one can't help but wonder what other effects the technology may be having on working relationships in the hospital.

This photo, from Flikr, shows a steamfitter and foreman for SwissLog checking pneumatic tube piping for dents. It is part of a series of photos taken by Marc Barnes documenting the installation of pneumatic pipes and other construction work at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Oaks Pavilion, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia (USA).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

pneumatic post art of the week 3

Test Site by Carsten Höller
(Unilever Series,Tate Modern, London, 2006)

Experience by Carsten Höller
(New Museum, New York, 2011)

Follow hyperlinks for more information about this pneumatic-looking slide at the Tate and New Museum.

Images from
Charles Hayne and Scalino's Flikr pages