The body is porous. It is a network of atoms strung together in the shape of a human being — but there’s a lot of empty space there too, isn’t there? It’s easy enough to feel oneself contained, pushing up against the margins, though every now and then, one can slip right out the spaces.
I'm Not Always Where My Body Is is a multimedia exhibition by artist Georgette Brown, exploring what it is to inhabit a body — as well as what is it like to leave it. Grounded in queer ecology, the artist situates this new work within the ‘mesh’, that messy, sprawling ‘concatenation of interrelations that blur and confound boundaries at practically any level: between species, between the living and nonliving, between organism and environment.’ Georgette evokes a dream-like world that appears to run parallel to the one we know: some other astral plane wherein things are transmuted, tilted, mosaicked. Curtains become a doorway that becomes a portal. The centre-piece floats suspended from the ceiling, a playful self-portrait of the artist in soft-sculpture form. The sculpture regards its reflection in the mirror. Except it is morphing. Its head is not its head — it is a pig’s. And its body is not its body — there are claws, and wings, and strange tufts of fur. This is a ‘boundary-breaking body … collecting together opposite extremes of … embodiment into a pulsating, limit-defying corpus.’
Entering this other world, wherein the limitations — between species, between the living and nonliving, between organism and environment — are so irrevocably broken, something crystallises. Interpreted simultaneously as highly symbolic and self-evident, the works seem to be talking to one another, much like trees communicating silently in a forest through complex underground root systems. These works are literally cut from the same cloth, each an iteration of one another, and, in turn, an iteration of our world. Georgette leaves her body to come back to it, entangled and reiterated within the ecosystem of the mesh.
Words by Charlotte Forrester
1 Morton, Timothy. Guest Column: Queer Ecology (2010), PMLA 125.2: 273-282. 2 Giffney, Noreen, and Hird, Myra J. Queering the Non/human (2008), Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate.