On World Radiography Day and the International Day of Radiology (Tuesday 8 November), a new film has been commissioned to coincide with the anniversary of the first medical X-ray performed in Birmingham 120 years ago.
‘X-Ray: The Unknown Quantity’ is a collaboration between Birmingham City University, Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Commissioned by Hippodrome CREATIVE, the short film brings together the creative talents of award-winning contemporary dance artist and choreographer Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere, British Institute of Radiology artist-in-residence Hugh Turvey and Birmingham-based sound artist Justin Wiggan.
Together, they have created a unique production featuring stop animation film, contemporary dance, X-ray imagery and a sonic soundscape collated from ‘hidden’ body sounds and X-ray equipment.
‘X-Ray: The Unknown Quantity’ seeks to shine a spotlight on the UK city’s substantial contribution to world radiography, when in January 1896, the first medical X-ray was performed by Birmingham radiology pioneer Major John Hall-Edwards.
Hall-Edwards was a high profile public figure in the city at the turn of the 20th century and did much to advance scientific understanding of X-ray imaging as well as the prevention and treatment of cancer. Towards the end of his life, he lost his left arm as a result of radiation exposure and his amputated arm is now preserved in the collection of the University of Birmingham.
The short film will be launched via the Birmingham Hippodrome website on Tuesday 8 November to coincide with World Radiography Day and the International Day of Radiology, a global day of celebration marking the anniversary of the discovery of X-radiation by German Physicist Wilhelm Roöntgen in 1895.
Staff from the Radiography Department at Birmingham City University took all the X-rays that appear in the film using the institution’s Digital Radiography (DR) X-ray facility and its phantoms – tissue equivalent models of body parts, that absorb and scatters X-radiation in a similar way to human tissues.
To complement the digital project, Birmingham Hippodrome have also commissioned a series of free, drop-in public workshops and talks taking place across the city throughout October and November.