One comforting constant throughout history is that whatever events, epochs, exigencies emerged, they were always developed by and through bodies like our own. The human being has always dwelt within a more or less constant body plan: two hands stretched out in front of it, a speaking mouth, and so on. However, like all things human, even this fleshy constant is not given simply, and in fact may be the most elusive object of all, over-determined by myriad representations whose ebb and flow inscribe a counter-history both on it and on the world it inhabits and grasps at.
Variously, it rises as a putrid lump, a folded sack of every excessive desire needing to be channeled and directed, allowing it now to rise as a temple, or scientific object, or sacred geometry. Sometimes it balances all these aspects at once, in a single gesture. It is at once excessive and lacking, passive receptor of forces, and active agitator and resistor of these same forces. A site of liberation and a site of incarceration, with these sites existing simultaneously as termini in both the projects of the vilifying and the lionizing of the body. The ambivalence of the body as object to all of these attempts to interpret it has something of the horrible silence of God.
Perhaps this ambivalence arises from the fact that body, and the assemblages that it takes part in, are always doubled. A double registration occurs when we utter, with grammatical and spiritual necessity, the possessive “my body”. And it’s perhaps in this strange state of affairs, of a body claiming ownership of itself via the medium of a self, that all of the ambivalence, the endless interpretation and interminable aspects, all arise.