Welcome to Drawing Blood, the podcast about art, science, and the macabre, hosted by Emma Merkling and Christy Slobogin.
Atheist Relics, Couples’ Cremation, and Victorian 'Infidels'
Emma and Christy look at Alfred Gilbert's sculpture Mors Janua Vitae (c. 1905–1907) at the Royal College of Surgeons, London — a life-sized bronze which houses the remains of the couple Edward and Eliza Macgloghlin. We talk relics and transi tombs; Victorian atheism and the history of unbelief; cremation, miasma, and lead-lined coffins; books bound in human skin; Victorian sex (and free love!); affairs between artists and patrons; Welsh druids; paganism; birth control and the throuple; infidel feminism; and abolishing the family.
Morphine Addiction, Decadence & Degeneration, and Fin-de-Siècle Paris
Emma and Christy use Eugène Grasset's lithograph Morphinomaniac (1897) as a starting point to talk about artistic depictions of morphine and historical opioid addiction, as well as decadence and degeneration in fin-de-siècle Parisian society. In this episode, we cover vampires, hypodermic syringes, Orientalism and Japonisme, 'dangerous' women, masturbation, pleasure, and sex work, true crime waxworks, and gendered consumption — of women, goods, and drugs.
Vegetal Agents, Plant-Human Entanglements, and Julia Margaret Cameron’s Photography
Emma and Christy look at Julia Margaret Cameron’s photograph 'Maud' (c. 1874) and discuss plant consciousness, agency, and erotics. In this episode, we cover tendrils and tentacles, Victorian queerness, plant horror, early ecologies, Darwin and plant sex, interspecies entanglements, photography and desire, colonial botany, tipitiwitchets, sadomasochism, and whether your houseplant can kill you.
Taking a Short Break
We will be back soon with the second half of season two!
Disability, Bad Horror, and M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Old’
Emma and Christy discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s 2021 film Old. We talk about what makes good (and bad) horror; harmful representations of disability in movies, art, and society; aging and chronic illness; the history of medical experimentation; critical disability studies; and “crip time”. We may not recommend actually watching this film, but we definitely recommend thinking through some of what’s going on in it!
Dollhouses of Death, Forensic Science, and Close Looking
Emma and Christy look at Frances Glessner Lee’s Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (c. 1940s) AKA dollhouses of death. We talk Victorian children and dollplay; the origins of legal medicine; CSI as visual analysis; Barbies and buzzcuts; girlbossing on the police force; busybodies, gender, and the history of policing; class voyeurism; contemporary art and crime scene photography; Sherlock Holmes; and the afterlives of evidence.
So fun and educational! As a nurse, I love hearing the medical side of things and learning more about art in a comedic way 🙌🏼
Can’t wait for the next episode!
This sounds amazing