The Body Dialogues
Human body, reflection of human body, mirror, wood, audio
Kochi Muziris Biennale
Dec 2018 - Mar 2019
The work alludes to a systemic deconstruction of the body, to examine and question what we understand of our own body – who we are and how we come to see ourselves. It is a working out of the self before the world, identities in repose and a challenge to hegemonic schemes of observing, reporting and knowing. The introspection follows the process of transformation of the body into a constructed idea of self, probing notions of identity creation, identity articulation and identity reinforcement.
The work uses the indefinite pronouns, every-body, some-body, any-body, no-body, dissected at the word body to decipher the meanings that emerge. Grammatically they are employed when referencing no specific person. This regime in language is contrasted against the words, fragmented and hyphenated at “body” to understand the seminal assessment constituting the possession of a body against the contemporary backdrop of gender, culture, religion, borders.
The above words and their refractions pivot the body as a point of departure as well as return, to unbind and unravel the word “body”. The body will be deliberated in its paradoxical oscillation between subject and object, composition and context, inside and outside, terrestrial and celestial. The attempt is to use the body to look inwards to understand what it means to inhabit one’s own body.
INSTRUCTIONS TO EXPERIENCE THE WORK
The work invokes you to use your own body as a transient living art object. You are asked to confront yourself in front of the four mirrors that are labelled with the below words.
EVERYBODY/EVERY-BODY SOMEBODY/SOME-BODY ANYBODY/ANY-BODY NOBODY/N0-BODY
The stance will engage you with your own reflection. The mirror is framed like an artwork with the frame extending onto the viewer, converting you and your gaze into the art itself.
You will be required to spend a few minutes focusing on your body’s reflection. The rhythmic audio chant aids you to hold your gaze. What emerges is a meditative reflection – What is the body? Where does the body begin? Where does it end? What is really the artwork – you or your reflection? Is your reflection confined to a mere anatomical outline? Are you the somebody or the some-body? Is your stance a choreographed gaze or can it really allow you to look within yourself? How do you associate each of the words to yourself and other bodies around you? What are the permutations of identities with which we define ourselves and the parts we choose to hide and repress?
The work is almost like a spiritual, meditative shrine dedicated to the body. The floor of the room is covered with broken pieces of mirror, symbolic of multiple documented gazes forming a sea of bodies. Versions of some/any/every/no/ bodies, lay strewn, a collective mass of body offerings. The body is treated as a found object, a tool to rethink where we place ourselves and others in our own mind amidst the various available versions of the “body”. The body is dismantled, both physically and conceptually mapping the journey from “every-body”/ “some-body”/ “any-body”/ “no-body” to merely a “body”.