Credit: Wellcome Library

“Wound Man,” as the image genre is generally known, first appeared as an illustration in European medieval surgical and medical texts. Wound Man was designed to visualize the kinds of injuries that a soldier might encounter in battle and give military surgeons insight into both the harming instrument and the bodily impact.

Read more about Wound Man and his various incarnations.

We have updated the medieval Wound Man for the 21st century as part of our “WoundPerson” project, the goal of which is to help you visualize how much and what kind of data you are sharing when you use tracking devices.

This 21st century WoundPerson is simultaneously genderless and poly-sexed – capturing in one body the various quantifications of typically gendered behaviors including those like breastfeeding and sexual play. Additionally, WoundPerson illustrates the many other kinds of devices that are used to quantify human life in ways that are presumed to be more gender-neutral (but often have gendered effects).

WoundPerson has 46 devices on their body and those devices (which are wearable, implantable, or which brush against the barrier of the body in some way) collect at least 100 different data points. The data from these devices leaves your control the moment it is transferred via bluetooth and/or wifi transmission. While users may envision that such data transfer is secure, the use of open networks renders the data highly vulnerable. Additionally, after collection for consumer use, the data is often sold by the collecting company to third party data brokers who may use the information for an array of purposes not visible to the person/people represented in that data.

WoundPerson is hanging in the hallway entrance to Ross-Blakely Hall’s conference room #197, just inside the main entrance to RBH. We encourage your thoughts and feedback.

This project is a collaboration between Jacqueline Wernimont and Nikki Stevens, with support from the Institute for Humanities Research and the Global Security Initiative.

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