Architecture, Building and Humanitarian Innovation
as the quality of space and the
direction of sunlight (see, e.g., Weinreich and
Montgomery, 2016 ). Architects see their own training as precisely to
consider such issues, which are unfortunately often ignored.
The humanitarian–architect divide, as I see it, can be crudely characterised
by the tendency towards utopian, expensive and unworkable ideas from architects, on
the one hand, and slow, limited and unimaginative responses from humanitarians, on
Soaking up the rays forges a new path for exploring Britain’s fickle love of the light by investigating the beginnings of light therapy in the country from c.1890-1940. Despite rapidly becoming a leading treatment for tuberculosis, rickets and other infections and skin diseases, light therapy was a contentious medical practice. Bodily exposure to light, whether for therapeutic or aesthetic ends, persists as a contested subject to this day: recommended to counter psoriasis and other skin conditions as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression; closely linked to notions of beauty, happiness and well-being, fuelling tourism to sunny locales abroad and the tanning industry at home; and yet with repeated health warnings that it is a dangerous carcinogen. By analysing archival photographs, illustrated medical texts, advertisements, lamps, and goggles and their visual representation of how light acted upon the body, Woloshyn assesses their complicated contribution to the founding of light therapy. Soaking up the rays will appeal to those intrigued by medicine’s visual culture, especially academics and students of the histories of art and visual culture, material cultures, medicine, science and technology, and popular culture.
(ultraviolet radiation) stored in the body (see epigraph). 4 He advocated both
sunbathing and the use of lamps to poor and rich alike in his 1929 book,
The Sunlight Cure . As is clear from the first epigraph by Sir
Leonard Hill (NIMR), Dane was not alone in encouraging the public. Despite
their vastly different credentials, they both perceived ultraviolet
radiation as having the capacity to protect the body by
In May 1928, The Times published
a forty-page supplement entitled, ‘Sunlight and Health’, replete with
photographs, illustrations, and advertisements. Readers’ eyes were greeted
with smiling faces, bronzed skin, and lithe nude and semi-nude figures in
open fields and on busy beaches, or indoors under gleaming lamps and shafts
of light ( Figs. 1.1 – 1.4 ). These
appear safely contained in its rich, polished wooden casing. 7 Its promotional
advertising, as evident in Plate 1 , only further
emphasised its polish, its sophistication, as an object not simply of
vitalising health but glamorous beauty.
Reputable medical men and quacks alike
promoted home-use lamps for public use as the ideal preventive means to
health in the absence of natural sunlight. Other
can extend our understanding of past societies and habitats. 15
What of the
present? Can looking at the past, especially through images and objects,
prove useful to thinking about our ambivalent relationship with natural and
artificial sunlight today? Conversely, can contemporary images help us to
rethink the past?
As of April 2011, UK legislation has
.3 – 3.4 ). 7 Note, for example, the
back of the central child in a photograph reproduced in Victor Dane’s The
Sunlight Cure of open arc phototherapy at an unspecified London
hospital ( Fig. 3.3 ). Here the back of the child is
engulfed in blackness, presenting a striking silhouette, because the only
lighting in the room was produced by the arc lamp itself. We find the same
in Figure 3.4 , of the Institute of Ray
both natural sunlight therapy (heliotherapy) and artificial light therapy
(phototherapy). Patients’ photosensitivities were monitored closely to gauge
whether the treatment would be successful or not, but the degree and kind of
reaction produced to determine ‘success’ varied enormously among
practitioners, in Britain and abroad. As I discuss in Chapter 5 , pigmentation (‘suntan’) had a related role to play, many
paradoxically felt comfortable, into
bearing the burden of his ‘normal condition’, grinding childhood poverty in
Rusape township, and the later miseries of homelessness in Europe and in
urban Zimbabwe.28 Even his work produced in England is presciently imbued
with disgust not only at the social prejudices of Europe and its colonial sidekick, Rhodesia, but at the violence and exploitation of post-1980 Zimbabwe,
its dog-eat-dog danses macabre.
Marechera published two books during the time he spent in England, The
House of Hunger (1978) and Black Sunlight (1980), that reﬂect
the Gräfenberg ring while attending the Congress of the International Society for Sex Research in 1926 in Berlin, and attended a course of lectures on birth control given by Gräfenberg himself in 1928.
In July 1929, Haire started fitting the ring for his patients in his own private practice and at his Cromer Welfare and Sunlight Centre, and he gave a talk on his preliminary results at the 1929 WLSR congress.
As Ivan Crozier has argued, his advocacy of the new device offered Haire a strategy for