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September 11, 2005

The occidental head - body and brain.

In a recent meeting with professor Luca Francesconi, Kent Olofsson and my PhD collegue Stefan Östersjö as we were discussing an upcoming project, Luca pondered around the deaper significance of the recent footage of terrorists beheading hostages. The project we were discussing is a planned seminar focusing on the body/brain relationship in the arts and Luca was making a point that in the west, our image of the man is so centered around the head and the brain that the terrorists, by separating the head from the body of an occidental citizen they are not just killing, they are removing the only thing that matters to us.

The meeting took place in the foyer of the concert house in Malmö and as he was talking I was looking out in the room. In the center of the space there was a sculpture, a torso of a female body and closer to me, on a pedestal was another sculpture - the head of Ludvig van Beethoven. In the context of the discussion we were having the meaning of these two unrelated sculptures became all too clear. The anonymous woman with no head and no limbs, only a womb and two breasts, and the Great Compser represented by only a replica of his head.

The theme for KnowledgeLab in Berlin was to investigate embodied knowledge released from verbal description and as such, subject to analysis in the form of physical expressions. I believe that the split between the body and the mind, with reference to Cartesian thinking, is deeper than we may want to admit. And I think that the image described above is proof of a gender issue involved. This would be the rationale of the physical and biologic female and the intellectual male.

Posted by henrikfr at September 11, 2005 07:56 PM

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