Tag Archives: clowns

What We Did with our Nov-Jan Vacation

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Maybe you’ve noticed: we tend to overextend ourselves.   Not only does this blog cruelly stimulate and occasionally sate your need for medical curiosities, but it does double duty promoting the tenuously related activities of The Art of Bleeding Magic Ambulance crew.  Squeezing in hours to actually produce those ambulance shows can itself be a distraction from blogging.  Anything beyond that, and something gives.

That’s when the blog goes black.   Immediately after our “Halloween Highway” gore spectacular, your humble blogmaster was summoned away by a past that just won’t quite stay buried.   You see, The Art of Bleeding’s absurd spectacles are genetically related to those of The Cacophony Society, a national cabal of pranksters and eccentrics, which is the subject of a recent museum exhibition, which I, as former wrangler of the Los Angeles lodge, was called away to help curate.

It was a mad rush, allowing no time for blogging over even organizing the Art of Bleeding appearance at the exhibition opening February 4.  Our ambulance performance this time round was of a highly “improvisational” nature, but we’ll be back with something more… errr, organized, at the April 7 closing party.

In any case, we’re more or less back, and below are some pictures from AoB’s participation in the event. Photos below are courtesy Curious Josh, Lee Joseph Publicity, and The Orange County Register.

(Note: The giant fetus depicted below is from a Cacophony/Art of Bleeding collaboration, the “Prenatal Emergency” installation at Cacophony’s “Museum of Mental Decay.”  Here it is in situ.)

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Inappropriate Playthings

We’re always collecting pictures related to medical, health, safety, and the like, but sometimes other themes emerge. Like with these three otherwise unrelated images all representing things that probably shouldn’t be given to children but apparently were.

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This painting by Dutch artist Jan van Neck depicts the great anatomist Frederick Ruysch dissecting a stillborn infant as part of an anatomy lesson. However, it’s not so much the dissected baby that caught our eye as the child (Ruysch’s son?) who’s been invited in to rubberneck. And in particular it’s that fetal skeleton the kid’s apparently been given as a toy.

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Probably not quite as dangerous as it sounds, but still alarming if nothing else for its pro-nuke propaganda, this item was produced by the A.C. Gilbert Company in 1950. It contained a geiger counter, cloud chamber, electroscope, spinthariscope, and some genuine radioisotopes just to get things popping. Gilbert was also the inventor of the classic engineering toy, the Erector Set, (which, come to think of it, is also a kind of inappropriate at least as far as that name goes.)

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And speaking of “Erectors,” the Tumblr wonderland Mostly Forbidden Zone dug up this wrong-headed attempt to — what? — make oxygen more fun to breathe? I wasn’t aware children needed additional incentive other than the threat of suffocation when it came to breathing, but even if your normal oxygen tank might be less than inviting to particularly sensitive respiratory patients, I’m not sure encouraging them to “suck on the candy tube until you make the clown’s eyes roll,” is really putting the right idea in their heads. Or maybe I just overly suspicious of clowns.

 

Scaring Sick Kids Since 1964

This Saturday, June 4, The Art of Bleeding will contribute a living “Hospital Clown” installation to the “Circus Circus” themed show at the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. The show will also include clown art by the Chiodo Brothers known for their work on the cult “classic” Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Prepping for the show, we dug up a few charming (scary?) photos of clowns and hospitals.  These are from a set for sale on e-Bay, taken around 1964 in a Chicago hospital.

(Check out that recumbent wheelchair in the last shot!  Got to build one of those! )

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Even Then, It Must Have Looked Strange

Scary hospital clowns, bizarre devices, and cadaver lab pix are just some of the medically themed gems you can turn up while perusing the photos archives of the National Museum of Health & Medicine and the Library of Congress.

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Violet wand use as physical therapy in military hospital. From the Flickr set of the Otis Historical Archives of the National Museum of Health & Medicine.

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Dissection room, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Circa 1936. Can’t you smell the formaldehyde? (Library of Congress)

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Apparatus for measuring extension-flexion of the wrist. World War I. From the Flickr set of the Otis Historical Archives of the National Museum of Health & Medicine.

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Children’s Hospital Circus. Washington, D.C., 1923.   How many children do you see smiling in this picture? (Library of Congress)