6 March 2013
This marvellous image from the exhibition cited a few days ago, recalls Foucault’s study of Bichat in The Birth of the Clinic. According to Foucault’s irony, death becomes the answer that medicine had been searching for over thousands of years. Dead bodies introduce a new game involving a different signification. There is no longer a natural expression or display of the symptoms of disease that needs to be read correctly; instead it involves an exploratory and projective gaze that is mapping a volume rather than a series of events. The approach becomes three-dimensional, the ear and the finger can now trace on the living body that which could be traced by the dissection of a corpse (1973: 73).
Death provides the foundation for a new spatialisation of disease: ‘embodied in a space that coincides with that of the organism; it follows its lines and dissects it; it is organised in accordance with a general geometry’ (159). Bichat is involved in ‘nothing more than a syntactical reorganisation of disease in which the limits of the visible and invisible follow a new pattern’ (195). Bichat invents a different space.
Foucault, M. (1973)  The Birth of the Clinic, Andover, Hants: Tavistock.