Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Body Issues

B sent me a link to a story about a pair of twins who practice body modification. They seem to be in the process of incorporating each other's limbs onto their own bodies. As they consider themselves essentially the same person, they do not see this as a loss but as a rearrangement of features. They consider themselves artists.
When people see the arm, they think it was an accident -- transplants like this do get done every once in a while for medical reasons. The finger though, that's art. We challenge anyone to take body art to a higher level.

This made me think of Orlan and her high production values. While I am interested in her use of her own body as raw material, I have not been all that impressed with the performative tropes she uses - the costumes, the readings, the set, etc. It has always seemed to me that she is continually adding elements as a form of theoretical justification instead of allowing the acts of modification to speak for themselves. Perhaps, she feels that modifications alone would not be enough to engage a critical art audience. Perhaps, she thinks the mis-en-scene would be better for photographs. Or, perhaps, she wants to distinguish herself as apart from people like Dave and Ryan.

I know that Orlan's modifications are based on representations of women in an art historical context. I find this only moderately interesting. I suppose this is one conceptually based series of performances in which the materiality of the actions speak louder than it's quotations. As bodied people, her surgeries dissect perceptions and anxieties about our own bodies. I am fascinated and repulsed by the images of the process. The final product, for me, is inconsequential.

I am curious, however, about her day to day life - grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, taking her dog for a walk. I suppose, without her Art Hat on, she'd just be another freak for the gawkers.

I would like to see her at a body modification convention. She could meet up with Ryan and Dave, Ryan could put his three arms around her, and there would be a tender and awkward embrace...

but I digress.


Blogger Natalia said...

Very nice work on your blog, It was fun to read! I am still not done reading everything, but I bookmarked you! I really like reading about body art and even created a body art blog of my own if you are interested

6:02 PM  

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