Blog Post

Boundless Bodies: "bio-art" in 2009—or the man with three ears

body, art, imagination

A new trend in the arts is to use human and animal organic tissues (mixed or grown together) instead of paint, clay or other traditional media as the primary material for art. The artificiality in art is literal, and yet subverted, the artificial becoming natural, being grown out of the natural world, and - more disturbingling - creating a new "natural" or at least living world.

See for yourself: artist Sterlac implanted a third ear in his forearm, with the hope to actually listen through this prosthesis made flesh. 

Surrealism started to literalize metaphors. Now art returns to Bruegel, and creates hybrids of flowers and humans, instead of just painting them. How do we call imagination when it is no longer the realm of images of the impossible, but it inhabits the real, embodied world? 

This is what happens when you read every single page of the French newspaper "Liberation": you come across "things" your mind cannot grasp.


Cecile Alduy's picture
« Je ne puis tenir registre de ma vie par mes actions: fortune les met trop bas; je le tiens par mes fantasies. » Montaigne, Essais, III, 9, 945 A prescient definition of blogging, no? Cécile Alduy, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of French Studies at Stanford University. A former student from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, she teaches French literature and film, with an emphasis on gender and ethnic studies.  Her research interests include Renaissance literature and culture, the history of the body, poetry, cognitive theory, and more generally how we make sense of the world.