The Body as an Event – A Dialogue Between Inside and Outside
As my topic, I selected the body. I sought to attempt to examine the unique relationship between inside and outside, which creates an event between a mechanical mechanism and a mental mode. I was especially intrigued by two aspects of the body – its vulnerability – to pain, suffering, erosion, ageing – and its unique ability to overcome through surgical procedures and birth. It appeared to me that by “decomposing” the body into its components, analyzing meanings and creating a new “connection”, I would be able to illustrate the unique aspects of the body. At the same time, I wished to create a cyclic experience which describes the continuity of processes which maintain a continues dialogue between inside and outside, between content and form.
The body, my body, as a subjective and universal experience (as a common denominator for everyone who is embodied), because the body is the source of complex knowledge of emotions and subjective feelings. All externalities and scenery of the body is obliterated in this work. Treatment is done of the body per se, lacking any environmental or sexist effects. The body as a state or event, of being a machine; vulnerable and overcoming a state which is beyond any cultural definition, beyond any definition based on sex, gender, status or race. The concept was to attempt to position the body as a unique whole of inside and outside, of content and form , as an infinite inner dialogue, or, in other words, to concretize the experience of the body as a state, an event, as a unique event of being a machine which operates out of the coherence of physical lows; and a mental mode, a state of vulnerability both physical and mental, and a state of overcoming – the body’s ability to “renew” itself (surgery) and, on the other hand, to maintain its spirit from an infinite process of rebirth. Over the history of Western society, the human body has experienced a protracted process of reference, from its being a source of survival, reproduction and power to its becoming a representation expressing social practices (cultural texts) as a source of control and social and political structuring, as a symbol of a border between inside and outside, and – in the last 50 years – as the source of the experience of the self, as a means of artistic expression, as a subject and object of creativity, as a site of social and political protest and as a possibility of multiple identities and consciousness – as a technological body. This cultural body, conceptualized according to social or gender-based social stereotypes are not unchanging. They are a function of the content valued (or despised) by society, or its prevalent myths and these are things which change. This occurrence – of a dialogue between body and physical laws, between the mental body with bodily sensations and feelings – has a unique aspect which allows us to self-reference and self-awareness. It allows us to separate ourselves from the world outside and feel our body as separate from the existence of the world and events in it. In addition, we are also able to internalize the world inside of use, re-organize things in our minds, decompose, reconstruct, translate thoughts and feelings and give them meaning.
The body which is simultaneously both a subject and a material (my means of expression) is reflected through images which provide support of form and content, which are linked to and derive from each other. Each of these images also has both a mechanical and a mental dimension, both an external and an internal dimension; each constitutes both form and content and together, they comprise an artistic environment, are expressed through visuals as a series of adjacent images which move along a timeline (“The Mouth”, “The Belly” “The Pool” “The Intestine”). And three-dimensional objects (“Intestine Tube” and “Iron Pipe”), all representative of the same subject.
As a common denominator, the body allows viewers to see themselves in it reflect on themselves; in order to set of the aspect of the body as a sexual object, I used technical, artistic and formal means such as the reproduction of a female body in the image of “The Belly” which creates a mass and cancels out the body as a feminine representation, or a pan close-up inside the mouth cavity, which neutralizes the supposed internal materialism of internal female organs and transforms the mouth cavity into a fleshy mass, saturated with liquids, or the naked body (my own) in a swimming pool, photographed in an atmosphere which creates a sense of softness and innocence which negates the perception of the body as an object of the gazing eye, or an internal photograph of the body, “The Eye” and “Inside the Intestine Tube”, which transform the body into cavities and spaces which obliterate biological sex or gender.
Through these images and objects, I wished to create a formal, cyclic link of spaces and strata which derive from each other and merge into each other, in order to convey to the audience a sense of cycles which have no beginning or end, one which enables the audience to join in the system of images at any point in time or end it gaze at any stage. Together with the intimacy which was created by the lighting in the space designed to form a closed space between audience and images, which intensifies the cyclic experience.
The Intestine Tube (object) expresses the direct link between inside and outside (absorbs and eliminates materials), as both a mechanical organ and a mental mode, as a metaphor. The size and dominance of this image were designed to emphasize the metaphor of innerness. The Intestine, like the Eye, is an image which symbolizes an inner experience “looking from the inside”; the meaning I create here using strata and the soft material invite the viewer’s touch and illustrate the human attempt to “peel” layers and reach the inside. These layers exist in all bodily aspects: mental, language, the brain (evolutionary layers), cycles of the female body (which is also expressed in The Pool, an image produced from its innards).
My naked body, swimming in the video The Pool, is the conductive material for a subjective experience which “rises and returns” to its starting point, through the metaphorical decomposition of bodily images. The metaphoric perspective of the body, which dissolves in water, similar to a fetus in the womb, and is hinted by the circle through which it is projected as well as by the mental puzzle – sensations which are hinted as a formal, circular analogy of rotations in the water which also indicate a coming-inward and return to the body of origin (the womb) or to an inner space of the I “in order to enable myself to give birth to myself anew, over again”, and, using these sensations, the body returns and (is transformed) into its current bodily state which again appears to indicate my own physicality and that of the viewers “who give birth to themselves from the inside, over again” – and through female cycles, they express the subjective experience as a universal bodily experiences which testifies to the body as an event which is beyond any cultural, sexual or gender-based definition.
The video The Belly provides metaphoric support for cyclic triumph. This reproduction of the image, indicated the infinite repetitiveness of inter-generational body – my grandmother, my mother and myself. The formal sprouting of body from body – the end of one photograph dissolves into the beginning of the next, reflects the bodily process of “return”, from a symbiotic relationship, the beginning or end of which cannot be indicated; its end point can be its point of origin. The technique of dissolve, which softens the shift from time to time, lends the photograph a poetic and mystically soft character and sheds additional light on bodily erosion which receives a dimension of making peace with the erosion; The peaceful, calm breathes of my grandmother (synchronized with the remaining images) reinforce this feeling. This is related to the myth of the “Great Goddess Mother” which expresses perfection, unity with the earth, body and soul. “The Great Mother” gives birth to the universe from its cosmic womb in a divine, eternal cycle – birth – death-rebirth. The embodiment of infinite body.
The video The Mouth – which is also mechanical, enables speech and is also mental – expresses the mind. Together with X-ray flashes, it expresses the Other who is not-me and provides a universal connection of the body, which is in its most substantial dimension, a joint experience of us all. The close-up lends drama to the mouth which may be shouting, may be swallowing, hurting or breathing, to expose the cavity of the mouth as a fleshy, mucous, liquid mass which stops the viewer’s gaze at the point of a dark spot at the back of the throat. This pause illustrates the mouth as a doorway between inside and outside and testifies to human limitations in seeing beyond the doorway. The frees frame close-up of the X-ray has a violent, graphic nature and the images frozen on the frame create a map of the mechanical aspects of the body and express the link between the “body as a machine” and “the body as an organism”. The sudden appearance of the flashes inside the mouth cavity, breaking continuity in time, is like a jump in time and space and negates the linearity of past-present-future and creates a circularity which is independent of any point in time.
The Iron Pipe and the movie “The Intestine” which is projected in it, declares itself, through its form, as yet another closed circle, as a two-way mirror which points to himself and to its inside. The pipe itself reflects rigid materiality as an analogy of the mechanical body which can be measured an understood and inside whose inner cavities an amorphous event occurs which is both “genuine” (an authentic photograph of the intestines) and “hallucination”. It is also a realistic space and also a sensory space. The relationship which evolves between the pipe and the space inside it, is a symbiotic relationship which may be viewed and which embody the coherent fusion of inside and outside between the mechanical and the organic body. The shapes in the video The Intestine with great speed, move and disappear and then return, are ingested and recreated in a circular continuity which creates a sense of being drawn inwards. They appear to drag anything in their path, “swallowing” the gaze of the viewer into their innards, as a kind of metaphysical journey on paths and spaces into which the viewer becomes immersed, contains them and is contained by them. This journey is an expression of human longing to search, to see, to understand, touch, and feel humanity. The slow breathing which is heard inside is the sound of a mechanical breathing aid (respirator) which also expresses a mental state which seeks to provide rhythm inside the circularity and is combined with the general, different breathing of the space outside, due to the formal processes which unify them.
The Eye is a mechanical and sensory organ. It “sees” through layers and lenses, connects inside to outside. We are almost completely dependent on it. It receives (impressions) and creates (images). It gives us a unique ability of awareness, which allows us to sense our body as separate from other bodies and see ourselves from the outside, as if we are outside our body – body and self-awareness. There is a “metaphoric” eye and the “third eye” (which sees to the depth of layers), the eye of a camera and the eye of the artist, the surrealistic eye and the viewer’s eye. The dramatic surgical cut of the eye is intended to create (by its affinity to “The Andalusian Dog”) “new sight” and a shock for the viewer, through new lenses (such as the eye undergoing surgery) as if the cut opens or exposes another aspect in which the eye is no longer only an eye, but is now the space which draws it inward and reveals an awareness to a viewing of many meanings which also connects it to the other images presented in the space.