University of Tasmania
whole_ChickShelley1998_thesis.pdf (6.55 MB)

Beyond flesh : an investigation into the representation of the human body that exists beyond the boundaries of the 'normal'

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:27 authored by Chick, SM
This exegesis examines, and defines, the visual representation of the human body within the framework of particular fantasy idioms. It also decodes the ideologies supporting these representations. It is the continuation of an artistic program exploring contemporary ideas on the status of the body. It initially concentrates on sub-cultural modes of expression that have emerged over the last two decades, specifically the rhetoric of American and Japanese cyberpunk, the cyborg, and Japanese animation (Manga). Within these arenas, the focus is upon the representation of the female form, and how visual codes within the set mediums, express anxieties towards the generative power of women. The central focus of the cyber ethic is the desire to regard the body as redundant, particularly with consideration to the latest developments in science and medical engineering, and the increasing worldwide interaction with cyberspace; a two dimensional plane where only consciousness is required - true to the dualist tradition. American and Japanese cyberpunk have developed distinctly generic characteristics, resulting in a bizarre variety of visual representations of the desired human form for the next millennium. Both mediums, however, dominated by male artists and theorists, provide abundant examples of the difficulties posed by the female form. If, as American cyberpunk suggests, the way of the future is to abandon our inept mortal identities and download our consciousness, then it follows that the presence of a female parthenogenetic entity is problematic to this creationist ideology. The characters who inhabit cyber fiction are unrepentantly bland and two dimensional. Ultimately, the result of the cyber enthusiasts' encompassing penchant for denial and negation of the physical is a selective ideology that reflects the ideals of its creators. They continue to perpetrate a dualist tradition, exchanging the experience of the flesh for a more responsive and pliable package, devoid of the challenges of sexual difference and power. Their configuration is a depthless future, where fantasy has lost all traces of real experience. This thesis challenges cyber ideology, by presenting the forgotten elements of its dialogue; realisations of the missing links and aestheticised fears of a fantasised new world.


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Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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