Zane Cerpina (NO) The Book of Love Bites – an intimate love letter to another body

Book and body, 2019

The Book of Love Bites is an intimate and personal love letter to another body. A body I have designed through my bites. A body that over time has become a site of extensive and somatic experimentation. Now it is the medium and material of my art. On, in, and under the skin of my chosen body. Art – unerasable.

The book consists of close-up photographs of the love bites I have performed repeatedly over a period of more than three years. Most of them are repeated on the same spot, over and over. Some of the photo evidence has been lost, some never taken. The lost bites you can only find inscribed in the skin of my chosen one.

The Book of Love Bites is a self-portrait of my own bodily desires and instincts, exposed through the carnal act of tasting another’s skin. The bites you see are signs of love, desire, and passion, but also care. Some are a physical act of power. Others – a somatic provocation.

I know the body I have used and abused well by now. I know it through my teeth, which have left their mark. Sometimes in the form of scars. My bite is a tool of inscription. My teeth write in the flesh. I can bite lightly – leaving no evidence aside from a momentary sign. I can bite harder – to feel the blood vessels crack, to make the bruise expand under the skin. If I bite hard enough – the skin gives in and breaks.

My bite is of a dangerous kind. It is, after all, a human bite – one of the most dangerous amongst the animals. A human bite contains 100 million organisms per millimeter. My bite holds up to 190 species of anaerobic organisms that can easily lead to an infection. I break the skin – the imprint stays.

I bite my loved one’s skin over and over, expecting the same taste, texture, and the sensation of crackling material. Yet the skin changes with every bite. It gets less sensitive, rougher, thicker. And the layers of scar tissue become visible and permanent. With time I must bite harder to leave my mark.

I still bite.

Zane Cerpina (NO)

Zane Cerpina is an Oslo-based artist, designer, organizer, and independent researcher working within the experimental new media, electronic arts, and interactive technologies. Zane currently works as a creative manager at PNEK (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway) and as a curator and producer at TEKS (Trondheim Electronic Arts Centre). She is also the editor and manager of EE: Experimental Emerging Art Journal. Her works include performances and objects exploring the human body as a liquid and moldable material through the lens of Somaesthetics. Through her artistic practice, Zane often explores the current eco-political crisis of the Anthropocene, creating alternative future scenarios through her eco-critique. She is also the curator and producer of FAEN – Female Artistic Experiments Norway (2019); The Dangerous Futures Conference 2018; and The Anthropocene Cookbook event series (2016 -). Zane has lectured and presented her work at venues such as ISEA (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), STRAND (Serbia 2016), LABVERDE (Brazil 2017), V2_ (the Netherlands 2016), Bodily Matters at UCL (UK 2016) and others.