Multiplicity and ontological instability in nonhuman hearts
Keywords:Body constitution, Biotechnology, Heart transplantation, Heart failure, Artificial heart
The article reflects on the relationships between biological bodies and technological artifacts, based on ethnographic research on the development of technologies of circulatory assistance, known as “artificial hearts”. To understand the corporeality that those mechanic devices help to produce, we aim to characterize two types of bodies, enacted from medical practices and biotechnologies designed for patients with advanced heart failure. The immunological bodies, produced in heart transplantation, will be contrasted to the bionic body, composed of the assembly with artificial hearts. We suggest that considering that each of these technologies gives rise to different natures, supported by materialities, practices, moralities, and specific presuppositions, is necessary. The attention given to the practices and materiality will allow us to highlight the varied material-semiotic intertwinings. Recover the trajectory of development of this field will allow exploring the imagination from which such interventions emerge and the transformations that occur, emphasizing the link to the body-machine on the biomedical scope.
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