︎ Prev       Index︎       Next ︎                                                             

What Is The Body

The body is the structure of a human being and a driver of life; the body is a shell that our soul inhabits. The body inherits the value of culture and is a tool that expresses our social identity and personality; the body is the intermediary that enables our perception to connect with the world and the projection of our sensations to the world.

The body has diverse meanings for different fields of study. Biologically, the body is a complex aggregate that consists of several organ systems and biological systems and ensures life keeps working. Phenomenologically, the body is its own body. It is the body of a self rather than a living body and a material body, It means that the body is not only as a torso but also it has its own conscious and perception.1 Aesthetically, the body is a rich object. We can review our own bodies and those of others through aesthetic perspectives, and the body manifests aesthetic experiences of visual art, theater, dance, and sports.2 Sociologically, the body can be a representation of culture, identity, and sexuality. For example, body culture studies analyzes culture and society in terms of human bodily practices, which include studies in dance, play activities, festivities, other forms of movement culture, gender and sexual cultures, along with fashion and body decoration.Returning to aesthetics in art, thanks to Leonardo da Vinci's "The Vitruvian Man," we can learn to recognize and explore the human body by way of proportional geometry; and, we can begin to visualize the human body as lines and numbers. The first time it featured the aesthetics of the human body. Meanwhile, it influences classical orders of architecture and opens the relationship between the human body and spaces our bodies inhabit. Performatively, Di Fazio says “the body is perception and act of expression; the body is a means of expression. Though often we use language to express ourselves, the expression is realized through the body before reaching the word and we communicate and express ourselves mostly through gestures and with the body in general.’’4 Take body language as an example, when we talk we use certain gestures or movements unconsciously, these actions indicate the sign and information what you want to communicate.

As the previous description implies, the body illustrates multiple aspects in diverse fields. Thus, my thesis and artworks examine our bodies from these different angles; my approach is to wear different ‘glasses’ to inspect the same object. Viewing the body from several dimensions reveals that different meanings and interpretations exist for me when looking at my body.

So, in this chapter I will explore what the body means for me through metaphors, interviews, and a ‘conversation’ with Merleau-Ponty.

1.Life Sciences, Society and Policy, “The body as constitutive element phenomenology and psychoanalysis on our view of ourselves and others”, 2017.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5406322/
2.Sherri Irvin, “Body Aesthetics”, 2016. https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716778.001.0001/acprof-97801987167783.Wikipedia, “Body Cultural Studies” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_culture_studies4.Caterina Di Fazio, “The free body -Notes on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of movement”