Techniques such as quality management, performance management, procedure manuals and prescribed rituals can be seen as forms of disciplinary techniques reinforcing power within hospitals and clinics. A disciplining of the body by the clinical gaze excerpts its power even in the corners of a bed.
In a hospital, clinic, or other health-care environment, beds must sometimes be made while occupied by a patient. Specialised techniques are taught to healthcare staff to enable beds to be made efficiently with due care for the patient. Hospital corners, a bed-making technic developed by war nurses in the mid 19th century, in which overlapping folds tuck sheets neatly and securely under the mattress at the corners is made to exacting standards. Nurses registered the logics of efficiency into the surface of the bed.
Georges Teyssot, in his essay The Mutant Body Of Architecture, analyzes how the total medicalization of the human body, during the twentieth century, starts to inform art. In his interpretation of the work of D+S, he argues that within their activity they put into question the aesthetic conception of the human body as an ideal figure. “Architecture typically enters into a role of complicity, to sustain cultural conventions. However, architecture can be put into the role of the interrogator. Given the political re-configurations of the contemporary body, spatial conventions may be called into question. Architecture can be used as a kind of surgical instrument to operate on itself.”
The installation that results in this Fifth Scene of my thesis project, puts into question the parameters of the ideal woman borrowed from the nursing practice, a parameter spatialized in the form of “a hospital corner.”
It is true that nursing has become less gendered and that the discrete sites for cure and care are becoming less reliable on human labor, yet the conventions attributed to the woman ever since continue to scrutinise its body as if cleanliness, tidiness and nurture are a practice of theirs only.
THIS PROJECT WAS THE RESULT OF THE BERLAGE THESIS PROJECT EXHIBITION AT THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT OF DELFT'S TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY.
PROJECT BY: PIERGIANNA MAZZOCCA