Industrialised Man. Fritz Kahn’s Visualisations of the Body as a Zone of Interference between Medicine, Engineering, and Culture
At the beginning of the twentieth century, optical and acoustic media revolutionized medical research and provided new means for their popularization. A particularly intriguing example for this interweaving of media, medicine, and culture provide the publications and illustrations of the physician and medical popularizer Fritz Kahn (1888-1968). Especially for visualizing physiological functions, Kahn developed a specific and characteristic graphic style by positioning the human body in industrial modernity and depicting its organs as machines. Kahn enjoyed a huge success with his style, as indicated by the many translations, particularly after his forced emigration to the US because of his Jewish background. Kahn’s images integrate medical advances in a combination of the avant-garde styles of the Neue Sachlichkeit and collage. The visual language of his images demonstrates how nature itself turns into a cultural construction in the exchanges between science and society.
Kurz-Bio: Cornelius Borck
Prof. Dr. Cornelius Borck
Institut für Medizin- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Universität zu Lübeck