Bojana Kunst (SI) The Pain of Incision: A Brief History of Bodily Disclosure

Bojana Kunst approaches the body with one example in particular, that of the enlightenment anatomists. “Modern man has successfully overcome the phantasmic miral classifications created in the 18th century, but only to substitute them for a world without secrets, bodies without organs, naked flesh, epidermal sacks, creation of doubles and clones, and genetic legitimation turned inside out.”

“Despite the fact that modern medicine, science and art present the body as a mere reconstruction, with the organism transformed into codes and heaps of binary files, we can still trace a remnant of the old views originating in the age of the Enlightenment, when, for the first time in history“we gained access to information - through the methodical autopsy procedure”. According to Stafford, modern people still believe that by the observation of visual characteristics they can discover something about the very essence of man; even more, we seem to believe that by means of further combinations of these characteristics we can compose an “ideal” human being (for example, by means of genetics), and one fit for the new challenges set to its survival by technology. The judgements of the body remain those acquired by looking into its interior; furthermore, the body turned inside out is becoming a document of identification and an insurance chip. In the future, it will probably play an important part in job interviews, family planning, the prediction of a given individual’s predisposition to disease or crime and the evaluation of genetic material. Today, high technology provides the same illusion as that of the microscope in the age of Enlightenment, providing a wonderful ability of magnification - and the illusion that we can in fact catch sight of the invisible, flawless information net, the virtual and statistical field of the perfect body.”

Bojana Kunst (SI)

Bojana Kunst, ph.d. is a philosopher and performance theoretician. She is currently working as a researcher at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts - Department for Sociology. She is a member of the editorial board of Maska Magazine and Performance Research. Her essays have appeared in numerous journals and publications and she has thought and lectured extensively in Europe. She published three books, among them Impossible Body (Ljubljana 1999), Dangerous Connections: Body, Philosophy and Relation to the Artificial (Ljubljana, 2004). She is also working as a dramaturg and artistic collaborator. She is leading the international seminar for performing arts in Ljubljana.