By Bernadette Wegenstein

The physique as an item of serious research dominates disciplines around the humanities to such an quantity new self-discipline has emerged: physique feedback. In Getting below the surface, Bernadette Wegenstein strains modern physique discourse in philosophy and cultural stories to its roots in twentieth-century thought—showing how psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive technological know-how, and feminist idea contributed to a brand new physique concept—and stories the millennial physique in functionality artwork, pop culture, new media arts, and architecture.

Wegenstein exhibits how the concept that of physically fragmentation has been in stream because the 16th century’s research of anatomy. The heritage of the body-in-pieces, she argues, is a historical past of a suffering dating among thoughts of the body—as fragmented and as holistic. Wegenstein indicates that by means of the 20 th century those it seems that contradictory pursuits have been built-in; either fragmentation and holism, she argues, are imperative modes of imagining and configuring the physique. The background of the physique, hence, is a historical past of mediation; however it used to be no longer until eventually the flip of the twenty-first century and the electronic revolution that the physique was once top capable of exhibit its mediality.

After reading key techniques in physique feedback, Wegenstein appears to be like on the physique as “raw material” in twentieth-century functionality paintings, clinical strategies for visualizing the human physique, and methods in pop culture for “getting less than the skin” with photos of freely floating physique components. Her research of present traits in structure and new media paintings demonstrates the deep connection of physique feedback to media feedback. during this method of physique feedback, the physique now not stands in for anything else—the medium has turn into the physique.

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Still of music video, “All is Full of Love,” 1999. 2), which she produced in the late 1990s. ”67 Whereas Björk’s robots seem to transcend humanity, Lee Bul’s cyborgs can be read as a criticism of the projection of ideals onto the female body, whether this be a human body or a cyborg. Critics of the cyborg figure, however, seem to agree in their observations that the body is a holistic entity, inseparable from its environment: it produces culture at the same time as culture produces it. This postmodern critique is what unifies the myriad positions against AI and AL, and ultimately against the Cartesian mind/body dualism.

137 Lacan had specified that a child always comes to its self-identity via a fundamental misrecognition of its own body. 138 It is thus precisely in respect to the lived-body experience that Merleau-Ponty’s thought converges with Lacan’s notion of the mirror stage, in that for both thinkers the notion of an experienced embodiment goes along with a double alienation, the recognition of one’s self in a deceptive image that is framed by somebody else’s gaze, a mirror, a screen: “At the same time, this body image makes possible a kind of alienation, the capturing of myself through my spatial image.

This enables the mind/body relation to avoid the impasses of reductionism, of a narrow causal relation or the retention of the binary divide. 100 Only on the basis of this new paradigm of sexual difference has recent feminist theory been able to think of sex and gender in a nonoppositional, nonhierarchical (that is, patriarchal) way—a way from which a new model of subjectivity in a variety of configurations has emerged, and which is studied throughout the remaining chapters of this book. In this new understanding of bodies, female bodies (along with other minority bodies) no longer need to be defined in terms of lack and absence (castration); rather, to use Grosz’s terms, the female body can now start to be rewritten as a positivity.

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