#Picbod Lecture Notes with Dr.Adrienne Evans

by alexmasonphotography

The Body #picbod



What is the body? Just a bag of bones?


Bodies are constructed on a daily basis. We move between buildings, we touch we hold, we imagine other bodies. Bodies are restricted by historical and cultural norms.


Restricted my social position – homeless person is a lot more restricted, cant go on holiday or wear nice clothes, put cologne on etc.


The media represents a certain type of body.



How does it represent itself?


We can be who we want to be through the Internet, camera phones, Photoshop. The most authentic versions of ourselves.


Theories of Representation and the Gaze


Our bodies are still limited in the society we live in. What does it feel like to be looked at?


Practices of looking form our self-concept – being recognized by others. It also causes us to feel uncomfortable. When people look at us, we don’t know if they’re seeing the subject or the object.



Looking at myself in the mirror – Uncomfortable


Looking at Melissa – Awkward





Objectification is the process of turning people into an object of our own gain.


Women as instrument or object of pleasure – nothing more.



Abject and Disgust


Abject is somewhere between the subject/object


Kristeva (1982) defines abject as things that pass out of the body

The abject means we have a series of social laws/rules.


Embarrassing Bodies

The dead body is the most disturbing body. Bodies that are close to death (fat and thin) remind us of death.


Limits of Representation

Sarah “Saartijie” Baartman (died 1815), born into slavery.


Freak show act in England and experiemented on in France – fascination with her body.


Displayed until 2002.


Her brain, genitals were kept in a museum. It took Nelson Mandela until 2002 to get her body back to Africa where she was born.



Gender (In) quality


Long history or gender oppression – only recently that women been seen as human. The man’s job was to use his brain.


Feminist movement made a massive impact challenging sexism.



Alternative Bodies, Alternative Representation  


Reshaping the body – body is malleable – can be changed in shape, appearance and physicality.


Body modification – female body building, scarification and branding, tightlacing, extensive tattoos and piercings, suspension.


Modern primitives – urban subcultures that form tribal affiliations


Socially sanctioned self – mutilation? Middle-class entertainment? White people’s scene.


Orlan – Body Beautiful?