Research

Most of my research draws on ethnography and discourse analysis to examine the arrangements in and through which (new) forms of visual evidence are used and valued. The type of visual evidence I have explored most is medical imaging. I am interested in how people's work with, for example, mammograms and retinal images produces diagnostic and predictive knowledge. How is the idea that seeing = knowing revisited in efforts to innovate medical imaging, and to persuade important audiences of the value of such new offerings?

This also relates to the question how healthcare is organized, and how clinical diagnostics intersect with academic research and business. 

In recent years, I have worked under the auspices of the "Asian Biopoleis" project (2010-2013), which engaged the social, historical, cultural, political and philosophical aspects of biotechnology/biomedicine initiatives in Asian cities. My sub-project focused on one of Singapore’s existing biomedical research strengths: ophthalmology - and in particular on eye imaging. I continue to develop the following strands:

  • How is the cultural significance of eyes and of ‘seeing’ inscribed in and through eye-imaging research, as well as the implementation and outreach for this research?
  • What can efforts to innovate eye screening and diagnostics in the city-state tell us about the work that is constitutive of Singapore as a Biopolis, about the pursuit of biomedical science ‘in Asia’, and about the pursuit of ‘Asian’ bioscience?

 

Another area of imaging I have worked on is business data visualization or visual analytics. With all the recent attention for Big Data, the enrollment of sight - or rather, 'natural' pattern recognition - to unlock hidden insights in datasets brings an opportunity to re-examine longstanding preoccupations with seeing-as-knowing and visualization as an instrument for discovery.   

My research interests are multiple, and some are developed through co-authorships with colleagues of diverse academic backgrounds at home and abroad. Recurrent themes include: revelation and concealment, the circulation of images, and expertise and accountability.

I am on the editorial board of the journals Social Studies of Science and East Asian Science, Technology and Society. I periodically review manuscripts for these and sometimes other journals.

The eye of Lee Kuan Yew displayed at the exhibition Eyes That Tell Stories (Singapore, 2011)

The eye of Lee Kuan Yew displayed at the exhibition Eyes That Tell Stories (Singapore, 2011)