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Glimpsed Phantoms of Sensation: Or, a Psychogeographical Investigation of Various Anatomical Specimens with Reference to Christine Borland’s Cet être-là, c’est à toi de le créer!

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Edward Juler



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Intellect, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This chapter takes the form of a psychogeographical analysis of anatomical specimens in the context of Christine Borland’s controversial 1997 photographic installation at the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon in Montpellier. Set within the Conservatoire d’anatomie at the University of Montpellier, the author retraces Borland’s steps through a series of narrated object-encounters which examine how her photographs invoke the repressed, melancholic agency of the specimen. The text draws on psychogeography as an art historical strategy through which specimens and their histories (including that of Borland’s own intervention) might be addressed through subjective peregrination. In the manner of Michel de Certeau, Juler envisages the act of wandering amongst the vitrines as a critical provocation which manipulates spatial organisation while simultaneously inserting discursive references and citations into the institution and its objects. The reflective, fragmentary and first-person character of the text draws on autoethnographic practices in order to foreground how questions relating to voice, affect, memory, narrative and phenomenology can enrich an understanding of both specimens and art history itself. Images and text interweave to create a peripatetic, experiential account that defamiliarises the specimen even as it opens up new interpretations of Borland’s photographs and the objects therein.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Juler E

Editor(s): Edward Juler & Alistair Robinson

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Post-Specimen Encounters Between Art, Science and Curating: Rethinking Art Practice and Objecthood through Scientific Collections

Year: 2020

Pages: 140-161

Print publication date: 12/01/2021

Online publication date: 08/10/2020

Acceptance date: 31/07/2020

Number of Volumes: 1

Publisher: Intellect

Place Published: Bristol


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781789383119