Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMonstrous Bodies
Come to Daddy (Cunningham, Chris), 1997

icon: previous page

center. The loudly crashing, coming and going bodies seem desexualized, without genitals or a navel. Sometimes a stomach suddenly swells up as if it were pregnant or is about to proliferate. That the concealed monstrous is connoted on the one hand with the disfigurement of gender, and on the other hand with the maternal belly, is neither coincidence nor the exception: It combines the fantasy of new reproductive possibilities without a mother and at the same time phantasmically binds the reproductive to the maternal-abject. The horror lies in the collision of a boundless maternal with the simultaneous dissolution of sexuality and femaleness. Besides in many of the artistic examples discussed in «Cyborg Bodies,» this fantasy turns up primarily in horror films, e.g. in «Alien» or «Tetsuo.» The film theorist Mary-Anne Doane writes: «Technology promises more strictly to control, supervise, regulate the maternal—to put limits upon it. But somehow the fear lingers—perhaps the maternal will contaminate the technological. For aren‘t we now witnessing a displacement of the excessiveness and overproliferation previously associated with the maternal to the realm of technologies of


representation, in the guise of the allpervasive images and sounds of television, film, radio, the Walkman?» [25] The material ability to reproduce has been changed into an omnipotent (media) technology that produces monsters, who in turn stand for the monstrous of new technologies and economies.

This fantasy also turns up explicitly in Chris Cunningham's music clip «Come to Daddy» (1997), in which a television gives birth to a monster. As Doane's argumentation shows, the amalgamation of the media apparatus with the female-material body, that is to say with the uterus and the vagina, is nothing new. [26] But «Come to Daddy» also thematicizes elements of the decline of androcentric subjectivity and at the same time the question about other forms of subjectivity. There is a significant moment in the clip that tells of the threat to the autonomous ‹white man›: In a multi-story parking lot, the only man who appears to be human is frightened to death by the brutal games being played by mutant children. He gets into his car—so to speak into an armored vehicle—and drives off at full speed. Although he, like the children, wears a ponytail and could thus potentially become one of them, he

icon: next page