I confess I waited and wandered about pretending to take photos of a host of unprovocative and rather neutral objects before I summoned the courage to stroll casually up and take the close-up shots for K = Kinky bits. But staring closely at a display of disembodied prosthetic limbs suspended in space, I felt even more like a voyeur.
It was kind of like seeing Long John Silver in his underwear.
Perhaps my discomfort with mechanical pieces of human is because they speak of our vulnerability, and are so closely linked with the harm we cause each other in war.
Not so my French friend in this poster.
I call her The Most Serene Seraph of the Extra Bits.
Graciously smiling, she floats above the clamouring throng, bestowing random extra limbs upon the needy and the legless.
I was about to say that'd be handy after a Friday night at the pub, then I realised it would be a dreadful yet totally unintentional pun.
So I said it anyway.
You have my permission to groan.
|Image credit: Wellcome Library, London|
She seems to have dropped by when Saint buddies Cosmas and Damian (who are said to have performed miraculous surgery free of charge and therefore could not possibly have been the forerunners of modern physicians) were performing this medieval demi-leg-transplant.
Her Serene Seraphness must have been in a bit of a hurry though, because not only does she appear to be wearing her nightie, but the leg she bestowed is quite clearly the wrong bloody colour.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the odd assortment of bits and bobs pictured here is the contents of the first drawer on the right in Grandpa's shed: pen and ink bottle, cigarette lighter, spoon, fork and knife, cup holder, wooden dolly peg, scissors.
This is a selection of appliances used by an amputee who had lost both his arms at the shoulders.
How did a guy with no arms use these devices?
Well, they are all components of the genius Mechanical Substitute for the Arms created by George Go-go-gadget Thomson in 1919. The implements were clipped to a mechanical arm that was, in turn, attached to an ordinary dining table.
Now, here's where I need your help.
How DID a guy with no arms use these devices?
During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.
My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.