Exhibition proposal 'Cartesian Cut?' submitted to Fringe Arts Bath 5.10.15.
Exhibition title: “The Cartesian Cut?”
Curator/Artist: Eloise Govier
The human body sheds ‘stuff’. Skin, hair, other dirt it collects on itself... the body sheds stuff! Some of these bits are ‘microartifactual’ and can only be seen at the end of a microscope. And yet despite its invisibility, our most vital information is caught inside and amongst it in the form of DNA.
This art project searches for artworks created by ‘forensic artists’ who are interested in exploring the boundaries of the body. The exhibition wishes to interrogate the ‘Cartesian Cut’ - the division between the subject and the object - by blurring the boundary between the two and showing the processes of the body as intra-actions (Barad 2003).
The exhibition will include Eloise Govier’s piece ‘The Cartesian Cut’ which is a durational performance sculpture made of household dirt frozen in hand-made stalagmite shaped molds using lurid energy drinks to create size-able structures that melt. By freezing these substances together the artwork holds together collective body-information (the essence of community?) but by allowing the ice-forms to melt the piece sustains the idea that these are ongoing durational process continually unfolding in and around us.
This artwork, along with other pieces included in the exhibition, wishes to raise the following questions and discussions:
• What are ethical implications of sharing dirt? Are these social rather than legal issues? My own research suggests people find the idea of bits of our shedding skin being incorporated into an artwork as invasive and something that requires permission; despite the fact that being human means we leave a trail as we go through life.
•What is the body? Bennett in her seminal piece Vibrant Matter reminds us of the colonies of bacteria that inhabit the crook of our elbow and how they function to moisturise the skin and help with the movement of the arm (2011: 112); Bennett remarks “the its outnumber the mes [!]”. The Cartesian Cut? shares contemporary thought on the ontological re-framing of the body as an “array of bodies” (Bennett 2011: 112) and wishes to play with ideas about the ‘porosity’ of the body.
•What things are closest to us? By utilising commercial products made to consume, such as Gatorade and Lucozade, the artwork brings together things made intimate by human interaction; the things that consume and go through us with the things that are dispensed and shed from us: to interrogate the body as it emerges.