The 'Improved' Body: animals & humans
Vol 22 no 1, 2002
The implications of the new biotechnology for the human body and for the future of the species is visualised. Recent revelations that genetic makeup of animals is much closer to humans than was previously thought and possibilitues of trans-species hybridity is no longer just the stuff of myth or science fiction. Artists ask: how do we feel about becoming even closer to the animals we share the planet with? Current trends in surgery for transgender and cosmetic changes challenge notions of bodily identity. Writers include WJT Mitchell (Chicago) on Biocybernetics, George Alexander on Julie Rrap, Victoria Ryan on cosmetic surgery and art, Jane Goodall on Ella Dreyfus, Bronwyn Platten on bestiality, Anne Quain on transgenic pets.Also beautifully illustrated features on the works of Monika Tichacek, Sharon Goodwin, Michele Barker, Lynne Roberts-Goodwin, Juan Ford, Stelarc, Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts, Ray Cook, Helen Kundicevic, John Kelly, Jane Trengove, Stephen Holland and Tiffany Parbs.
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Monika TichacekMonika Tichacek, artist profile
Monika Tichacek is an installation artist based in Sydney. Her performance installations exist as a space within fiction, dreamlike. In both of Tichacek's works 'I Wanna Be Loved By You' and 'Romance' the view of the human is mediated by a surveillance camera, echoing the receding of the surgically enhanced body from human towards post-human.
Monika Tichacek is an installation artist based in Sydney. Her Romance installation saw Artspace transformed into a sterile white interior panelled with white plastic. The artist, swathed in white bed linen lay on a white platform as if reclining comfortably on a bed except that her head was transfixed by strings attached to four steel hooks piercing her upper lip and eyebrows. In a style reminiscent of David Cronenberg's films the figure appears as if post-surgery, complete with silicon-injected lips and eye-lift, simultaneously seductive and horrific. She says: 'A hidden camera records a close-up of my newly-enhanced face, which plays on a monitor next to me. The audience is not allowed to enter the room. A space too white, Too shiny.
Too sterile. Too unreal to be entered. It is a space that exists within fiction. Dreamlike. Perhaps the product of science fiction or a padded cell of a psychiatric clinic.'
In I wanna be loved by you, a performance/installation at Kudos Gallery in 2001 she lay in a white vinyl box with a clear peephole on top. 'Perhaps a display case. A coffin. A love-booth. Some kind of high-tech machine for a cryogenics experiment. The audience could look in on the sides and see my feet and the top of my head. Pinned to my head with hypodermic needlies, 25 m of long platinum blonde hair, lovingly adorned with red ribbons, flowed out of the box across the gallery floor. From inside the box Marilyn Monroe's "I wanna be loved by you" can be heard. Wearing 1950s-style starlet makeup and batting my false eyelashes I lipsynch the words, looking up at the audience above me.' Through the peephole the artist's face appeared magnified, distorted and fuzzy, moving in and out of focus, hinting of the less than perfect reality of the idealised feminine image. In both of these works the view of the human is mediated by a surveillance camera, echoing the receding of the surgically enhanced body from human towards post-human. Tichacek has been assisting Matthew Barney in his studio in New York this year.
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Articles in this issue
- Artist profile: Jane Trengove
- Artist profile: John Kelly
- Artist profile: Lynne Roberts-Goodwin
- Artist profile: Michele Barker
- Artist profile: Monika Tichacek
- Artist profile: Ray Cook
- Artist profile: Steven Holland
- Artist profile: Tiffany Parbs
- Artrave: Artrave
- Editorial: The 'Improved' Body: Animals and Humans
- Feature: Animal Love and Bestiality
- Feature: Animal Magnetism: Sharon Goodwin and the Eternal Romance of the Bestial
- Feature: Carnophilia
- Feature: Improving Their Bodies, Improving Our Bodies
- Feature: On Humans and Other Animals 'Becoming' Each Other
- Feature: Polemic: The Undoing of Art History (Part II)
- Feature: Sex in the Cyborg: Julie Rrap's Overstepping
- Feature: Similarities, Gen-et(h)ic Boundaries, and Respect for Otherness
- Feature: Sympathetic Magic: Skin and Canvas
- Feature: The Extra Ear (or an ear on an arm)
- Feature: The Surgical Fix: Physical Capital, Self-Improvement and the Body Beautiful
- Feature: The Theatrics of Cloning: The Recent Paintings of Juan Ford
- Feature: The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction
- Feature: Uglielands: The Fremantle Festival 2001
- Feature: Willing Tenants: Ella Dreyfus and her Models
- Review: Hema Upadhyay, The Nymph and the Adult, Sung Kwon Park, (un)real, Eugene Carchesio, On Contemporary $ilence
- Review: In correct syntax, Greg Leong, Mammad Aidani and Matthew Ngui,
- Review: Love and Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria
- Review: Morphologies
- Review: Neo Tokyo - Japanese Art Now
- Review: Petr Herel: Drawings, Prints and Artist's Books
- Review: Play: An Exhibition for Children, Queensland Art Gallery
- Review: Sally Rees: A Loft
- Review: Singapore Nokia Art 2001
- Review: The Bank West Inaugural Contemporary Art Prize, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
- Review: Touching from a Distance
- Vis.arts.online: Vis.Arts.Online