I plan to present an image-rich 10 minute provocation outlining my research into the absent abject body in media arts. Paradoxically, while much of media art centres around ideas of the reconfiguration and augmentation of the body through technology, the body as a theme, in all its messy, bodily and abject materiality, has been largely omitted from the framework. While some media artists have engaged in themes of the abject body, they have remained largely on the periphery.
The dominant trajectory of media art culture has been one of progress, sophistication, advancement – a ‘futurist’ art of the 21st century. Contemporary media art and its common crossovers with art and science can also be seen to have connections with the period of the enlightenment, of rationality and reason, when the aesthetic appeal and pleasure of disgust and the abject were consciously eradicated, disqualifying them from the aesthetic register.
A common direction of much electronic art has indeed been to secure an aesthetic that is removed from more base level concerns of revulsion, the abject and the grotesque, towards an aesthetic which distances itself from the body, with its moist interior and bodily fluids. With the evolution of increasingly sophisticated technologies, we leave the body further and further behind in the rush of the media vortex; yet conversely, as I highlight, the rise of technology has made us more aware of the physicality of our ‘meat bodies’.
I will show examples of recent new works, including Some Thing (2011), Night of the living hippy (2012) and Workshop of filthy creation (2012)
- Ian Haig, RMIT University, Australia