By the hand of medicine, through the artistic eye: how vigilance and presence express the meaning of life - Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Atelier de lecture

By the hand of medicine, through the artistic eye: how vigilance and presence express the meaning of life

Intervenante : Gloria Alhinho

Horaires :10h30-12h30      Lieu : MLR033

  • vendredi 12 avril 2019

Between science, medicine, life and art: the concept of vigilance and presence

  • vendredi 19 avril 2019

Meanings beyond meaning. Understanding death through the vigilance of a son in Mother and Son by Aleksander Sokurov. 

  • vendredi 3 mai 2019

Thinking life beyond anomaly: the vigilance of a man in A Girl is Lost in her Century in Search of her Father by Gonçalo M. Tavares

  • vendredi 10 mai 2019

Understanding medicine through the vigilance of a doctor in A Fortunate Man by John Berger

  • vendredi 17 mai 2019 - reporté au lundi 20 mai 10h-12h

Saving life: thinking the erratic destiny of human nature through cinema, literature and medicine


In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, a great number of authors (Anne-Laure Boch, Martin Winckler, Albert Tauber, Abraham Verghese, Oliver Sacks, Gavin Francis, Darian Leader, among others) have expressed their concern about clinical work without human interaction, and its consequences for the future of medicine.

In this respect, recent genetic or molecular research, by establishing links between the environment and genetic inheritance, has already highlighted how this enhances our understanding of illness, life and death. Jean-Claude Ameisen in France, or Manuel Sobrinho Simões in Portugal, provide examples of this research.

As a consequence, the global understanding of a person-as-a-person concerns medicine, biology and the Humanities. We all have the responsibility of questioning the place of the living world in its relations with man, and the way we create our knowledge about it. We are concerned with the considerable role played by the Humanities in medical education (narrative medicine, Rita Charon) or in general education (Humanities and democracy, Martha Nassbaum).

In an uncertain future, where everything is possible, rendered visible and needs to be said, choices have to be made. As the composer Arvo Pärt reminds us: in art, everything is possible but not everything is necessary. We explore here all those different perspectives and lines of research to see how the Humanities could usefully open up new approaches in exploring the meaning of life.

The main goals:
- Insisting on presence and vigilance to investigate the meaning of life, developing interconnections between science, medicine and art;
- Exploring different ways of being vigilant and present in art and medical contexts;
- Integrating vigilance as an affective presence rather than as a way of controlling someone’s life;
- Considering death, disability and illness not as errors but as components of our life story;
- Envisaging the Humanities as engaged in an interdisciplinary dialogue to enhance our understanding of the meaning of life;