Kaisu Koski Rehearsals for Empathy

February 8, 2020 – March 29, 2020 Project Space Gallery

About the Exhibition

Kaisu Koski’s Rehearsals for Empathy portrays aspects of simulation in medical education through a series of films which deconstruct various elements in training of standardized patients.

Standardized patients work with medical students to help them practice their clinical and interpersonal skills in preparation for their medical licensing exams. These films are dedicated to exploring the tension between standardization and authenticity that is involved in this work, particularly in “breaking bad news.” Ideally such an encounter is deeply human, authentic, and emphatic, yet the interaction is also a highly structured simulation governed by clinical protocols and checklists. In this film, standardized patients portray three distinct characters and repertoires of responses, while medical students learn to proceed according to a “breaking bad news” framework.

This project results from a research fellowship in the Medical Futures Lab at Rice University in 2016. In this project, the artist-researcher develops cinematic-performative ways to explore both the standardized patients’ work and the medical students’ learning process, and explores how it feels to tell bad news in first-person.


About the Artist

Kaisu Koski is an artist-researcher with a background in media art and performance. She earned her doctoral degree with a dissertation “Augmenting Theatre” on interactive performances and installations in 2007 in the University of Lapland. Kaisu is an Adjunct Professor of Arts-based Research in Tampere University, Finland. She collaborates with scientists, clinicians and engineers, and currently carries out a project, funded by the Academy of Finland, developing films for medical curricula in Finland, Denmark and the U.S. She has conducted research fellowships in various medical schools, and published peer-reviewed articles about arts-based research, medical education and bioethics. Kaisu’s work has been exhibited in platforms such as Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, Hasselt Triennial, The Lab in San Francisco and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Korea, and received multiple official selections on the film festival circuit.