What do exhausted nurses have to do with the invention of X-rays? And how is your retirement provision connected to a rising number of hip implants?
This is the story of how people become profit in the German healthcare system. Using photography as a point of reference, it is a visual research that explores the political, cultural and scientific structures that form the framework for healthcare as many experience it today in Western medicine.
Credit: Dafni Melidou
Rembrandt, 1632. Credit: Mauritshuis, The Hague.
X-Ray tube experiments, 1896, USA. Credit: William J. Morton
Robot-assisted operation system DaVinci, 2022, Germany Credit: Patricia Kühfuss
WHAT COUNTS is the story of how people become profit in the German healthcare system. As a living visual archive which is accompanied by a written thesis, it is using photography as a point of reference to explore the political, cultural and scientific structures that form the framework for healthcare as it is currently provided in one of the richest countries in the world.
Interwoven with personal experiences and interviews, it maps the tension between what patients need to heal and what is offered by a system acting within a growth-oriented accelerating economic system.
It is argued how photography — in the form of medical imaging — separates physically representable symptoms from patients and their lived experience, by that creating an abridged representation of life.
As healthcare has been embedded in a profit-oriented market by politicians over the last decades, medical imaging today not only acts as an operational image that gives evidence helping to diagnose a patient, but also as an operational image which facilitates the commodification of the body. This puts the well-being of both patients and medical staff (and therefore society at large) at stake.