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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMonstrous Bodies
Family Romance (Ray, Charles), 1993

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plastic tubes, flows out of all of the openings of a kneeling, white female doll: Everything flows/dissolves, becomes monstrous and yet still remains uncannily artificial, glassy and compact.

This contribution proposes that monstrous bodies demonstrate monstrous subject relations as they have emerged in recent decades through the fusion of new technologies with neoliberal economies. The aesthetics of physical deformations, the dissolution of physical boundaries and the recombination of limbs symbolize what is happening with bodies on a sociopolitical and subjective level. Using various media examples I will inquire into whether images of the mutationistic body name or ‹dename› the mutations of everyday life and what role gender plays in this.

The Joy and Horror of the Monstrous: The Averting of Perverse Power Relations in Discourse on the Deviant

In particular at the beginning of the nineties, when the posthuman [4] discourse spread, fantasies about disrupted gender, reproduction and individuality, about bodies and organs that had gone out of control, were widespread and were frequently staged by means


of whole, smooth and doll-like bodies. One example of this is the sculpture group «Family Romance» by Charles Ray. The work was received as a sign of the aberrations of biotechnological experiments as well as an allegory of relations of power and violence in the family unit [5] or in a flexible society. [6] While Huber's clone series makes explicit reference to the problem of genetic technology, Ray's works—not only his works with models—more generally revolve around questions of dimensions and proportions, lifelessness and physical excess, and thus address a fundamental condition that has entered into a crisis. The doll-like works in «Chapmansworld» by the British siblings Dinos & Jake Chapman— in particular the sculpture «Zygotic acceleration, biogenetic de-sublimated libidinal model (enlarged x 1000)»—are further examples in which current discourses on reproduction and individuality are staged as a monstrous spectacle of proliferating gender bodies.

In all of these works, the overriding theme is the end of androcentric subjectivity in which the conditions no longer hold true and lead to atrocious perversions. All of them deal with control and its loss.

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