Tennis | House: Medical Imaging as Videographic Criticism


This is an accepted article with a DOI pre-assigned that is not yet published.

“Tennis | House” extends my earlier work using medical imaging software to explore narrative film. As with digital humanities work, medical imaging “datafies” the body, reading the physical change of discrete organs, cells, molecules, and so on. Furthermore, medical imaging frequently does so by reading this evidence indirectly, as a proxy for other knowledge: in the absence of direct access to the body’s secrets, medical science finds other indicative information to measure.


This work considers how this might also be true for videographic criticism, comparing recent medical research using fMRI to “read” the thoughts of vegetative patients with the concept of videographic criticism itself.  As with coma patient research, which bypasses the articulation of speech, in videographic criticism audiovisual material is our proxy for thought. We think other thoughts through shared images.

Organized in five parts, my piece juxtaposes popular cinema focused on tennis and homes with discussions of medical imaging research. I argue that medical imaging is mostly videographic, given its indirect representation of an otherwise unknowable internal state that is mediated according to particular technical affordances and cultural assumptions. Likewise, videographic criticism requires us to think indirectly, by proxy, when we generate new knowledge by “graphing” with “video.”


Videographic Criticism, Medical Imaging, Tennis, Homes, fMRI



Kevin L Ferguson (Queens College, City University of New York)




Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.