With Omar Al-Dewachi (Medical Anthropologist, Associate Professor Rutgers University New Brunswick) & Hakan Topal (Artist, Professor for New Media, Arts & Design, Purchase College New York)
The Coronavirus pandemic has once again placed the body at the centre of political and social debate. However, questions about its status were already relevant before the virus and remain key issues in many conflicts that continue to have a decisive influence on the world.
What does it mean for an individual body, for the body of a collective, to be safe or unharmed? How is the idea of the integrity of a body linked to how we imagine, experience, represent or define a body? To what extent is it also a matter of aesthetics, of performance? And, what is our responsibility when it comes to create visibility and agency for bodies that are under physical or symbolic attack?
The online-series ‘Unversehrtheit: Conversations on the Integrities of the Body’, initiated by curator and researcher Sandra Noeth brings together international artists and researchers across different disciplines and fields of practice to take a close look at the body and its possible integrities.
Aesthetically, ethically and politically, the body manifests itself as both a witness and an agent in the current, ideological, humanitarian and bio-political crisis, and as a site where ideals and ideologies are negotiated. Here the question also arises of which bodies we deem worthy of ethical recognition and legal protection. Presented through the highly contested and unequally distributed “right to bodily integrity,” this debate is also expressed on a much smaller scale on a structural and everyday level.
This series of conversations aims at opening up informal exchange and reflection. The format combines discussion-based encounters between experts (In Conversation #1-#8) exploring the concept of the integrity of the body from their specific contexts and fields of activity, with dramaturgical sessions (Dramaturgical Perspectives #1-#4) focussing on strategies and practices that artists develop in response to their specific experiences where the integrity of the body is at stake.