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Views & Reviews Review

A slice of life

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 01 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6794
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

Whether in medicine, science, or architecture, slicing can reveal secret order, spill lurid innards, and open new views. Wendy Moore enjoyed an exhibition that looks beneath the surface

We have grown accustomed to seeing beyond the surface of things. Whether we are looking at a cross section of a Chilean mine on the news, an anatomical illustration in a medical textbook, or an ultrasound scan of a baby, technology has made internal views commonplace. Walls and skin no longer hold much mystery.

But a new exhibition at the Architectural Association in London exploring the development of interior images in medicine and architecture has recreated something of the wonder in seeing what lies beneath.

The Slice: Cutting to See brings together models, machines, and works of art from the 18th century to the present across the disciplines of medicine, science, geology, architecture, and art. From wax anatomical models of the body to a bacon slicing machine, from a brain scan to a cross section of the earth’s crust, they all show how the ability to see beneath external surfaces can reveal hidden depths, secret structures, and unknown …

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