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Art to cross with medicine at Wexner Center for the Arts

A Film & Comix Series.'


A medical concept, which concentrates on doctors better understanding their patients, will be the focus of the next series at the Wexner Center for the Arts. 

The Wexner Center and Wexner Medical Center are joining together to help promote the merging of their two fields, in a series titled, “Narrative Medicine: A Film & Comix Series.” 

“Narrative Medicine” is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. and continue through April 16 in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater. The series consists of eight films, a book reading, multidisciplinary conference and digital comic slideshow as well.

“Narrative medicine is sort of a new concept that just within the last few years has become a driver in the world of medicine,” said Jennifer Wray, marketing and media assistant at the Wexner Center. “And it’s this idea that … by doctors understanding storytelling, through literature, through film, through other works, they can better understand their patients.” 

By letting the patients tell their own stories without being interrupted by their medical care provider, the audience is able to hear people talk about their symptoms as a part of their larger story of life, and this can help doctors provide better care to them, Wray said. 

Jackie Pennywitt, a second-year in medicine, said social history is largely connected to medicine, and knowing more about the patient other than just their condition can help. 
“I think that (‘Narrative Medicine’) increases awareness, and talking about (illness) can help people to heal,” Pennywitt said. 

David Filipi, director of Film/Video at the Wexner Center, said the series is intended to show a new field of study that is just starting to be recognized as an approach to combine the humanities with medical education. 

“About a year ago, facility from the Classics, and the French and Italian department approached me saying they were wanting to do a conference about narrative medicine, and wanted to know if the Wexner Center would like to partner with them and augment it with a film series and related events that would create more of an impact than just an academic conference,” he said.

The series is made up of both fictional and nonfictional accounts, Wray said, and is displayed in different formats to tell each story.  

The series will begin Wednesday with two 20th century films, “Dark Victory,” a 1939 film which tells the story of “a spoiled heiress diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor,” and “The Snake Pit,” a 1948 film about “a young woman confined to an insane asylum with no memory of how she got there,” according to the Wexner Center website. 

Both movies are fictional accounts, but the “The Snake Pit” prompted reforms in the mental health field because of how it portrayed the upsetting hospital conditions at the time, Wray said. 

“Upgrade Soul” will be a live, interactive version of Ezra Claytan Daniels’ digital comic, slated to hit the Wexner Center March 28. This will be used to tell the fictional story of “wealthy science buffs who decide to fund a risky, experimental genetic therapy to rejuvenate the human body,” according to the Wexner Center’s website.

On April 4, author David Small is slated to discuss “Stitches,” his graphic novel about his botched childhood surgery that left him mute and his journey since then. 

The multidisciplinary conference, called “Narrative Medicine in the 21st Century” and scheduled for April 5 through April 6, aims to promote discussion about the merging fields of medicine and art, and both the Wexner Center and the Medical Center will be a part of that discussion.

Tickets for opening night are $8 for the general public and $6 for members, seniors and students.

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