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The Visible Human Project: Open Data And Our Digital Fingerprint

The Visible Human Project: Open Data And Our Digital Fingerprint
culture

Croix Gagnon and Frank Schott's beautiful 12:31 photo series questions posthumous data rights for executed prisoner Joseph Paul Jermigan.

Lisa Baldini
  • 5 april 2011

The act of death has historically been accompanied by numerous rituals and preservation techniques to etch the personality of that person in the minds of its loved ones. In the age of open data, the fingerprint of the dead can be much more far reaching.

Using the the imagery of a former executed prisoner, the project uses controversially obtained imagery of Joseph Paul Jermigan for the Visible Human Project:

The Visible Human Project is an effort to create a detailed data set of cross-sectional photographs of the human body, in order to facilitate anatomy visualization applications. Jernigan’s cadaver was encased and frozen in a gelatin and water mixture in order to stabilize the specimen for cutting. The specimen was then cut in the axial plane at 1 millimeter intervals. Each of the resulting 1,871 slices were photographed in both analog and digital, yielding more than 65 gigabytes of data.

The controversy stems around whether Jermigan knew how his body would be used when he signed up to donate his body to science. While photographers Croix Gagnon and Frank Schott claim that the 12:31 series “put it [him] back together”. Further questions about how our data footprint will be used — especially posthumously — rises to the fore.

The Visible Human Project

12:31

[via Lost at E Minor]

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