June 26, 2009

stairs 63


I have been thinking about the ephemeral physical daily movements we make and that are the core of my project and looking to find a way of transforming them in to digital information. I have brought a USB pedometer. Aim to use this to keep track of how many steps I take every day and convert that figure in to data, possibly each day’s number of steps equating to an R B G value.



Been wondering if our acceptance of the digital world in some way explained by the Cartesian philosophy of duality between body and mind?



March 28, 2009

Western society spends much time and money promoting the idea of the necessity of our controlling our physical bodies and making them less unpredictable and therefore less threatening to a stable society.

‘Responses of disgust to the breaches of bodily control reveal the persistent power of the civilizing process.’

( p. 91. The Body in Society.’ A. Howson.)

On line…. there is freedom from the reality of the human body and it bodily betrayals.

A question is that this distancing from our bodies promotes us to be even less accepting of our physicality and lack of control.

‘’…. The idea of the cyborg offers a Utopian model that challenges dualisms and their negative consequences and raises important questions about the production of social hierarchies in relation to bodies…the cyborg troubles supposedly ‘natural hierarchies and suggests the human body can no longer be viewed as beyond social intervention and modification….. the cyborg then is more a description of social circumstances. ‘

(p. 91 The Body in Society.’ A. Howson.)

These photos are of my son’s bed and the skin he scratches off through out the night.


I was not brave enough to photograph his bedding at the worst phase of this current bout of infection.

I took these pictures in order to think about how the expectation of a bed can change from a symbol of rest and peace for the healthy to a pace of acute discomfort for many who are sick and to look at the ideas of childhood are being a time of protection provided by the ‘good parent’ and the concept of illness being a form of bodily betrayal and perceived as an enemy to society.

There fore these pictures maybe perceived as distasteful, or voyeuristic, or exploitative .  Rather than, as I intended,  a statement of my son’s painful skin condition and societies’ lack of acceptance due to expectations of what childhood should be and the criticism that this sort of chronic illness reflects some form of bodily betrayal that should be managed, controlled and hidden by a socially responsible parent.

‘Much of childhood is taken up with being encouraged to control one’s own body and learn appropriate forms of bodily conduct.’  (P.141)

‘Indeed, in recent years, sociologists have noted that childhood has become equated with the management of risk(Brownlie 2001), a preoccupation with prevention and with constant vigilance in order to forestall potential threats to children’s well being….’ (P142)

‘Moreover, the body of the child was increasingly constructed as a problem within pediatrics as shifted its concern from diseases of childhood to concern about the health and development of children as a whole…’ (143)

(Alexandra Howson , ‘The Body in Society: An introduction.’

Chapter 6 Images and Experiences of Childhood, Aging and Death.’)

My concern is that we socially in the west keep distancing ourselves from the unpredictable nature of our bodies and that this process is promoted and continued in cyber space.

There is a lack of acceptance of the body’s perceived ‘imperfections ’  in western society and an expectation that we can eradicate through management irradicate the unpredictability of our bodies.