It has been a while now that I am accumulating articles that address the philosophical or/and political dimension of the human (and sometimes non-human) body. I decided therefore to add one “category” in the archives of The Funambulist. Following the philosophical scream of Michel Foucault “Mon Corps, Topie Impitoyable” (see past article), this category will use its original French version Topie Impitoyable as the English translation both lacks of the full meaning (My Body, Pitiless/Inexorable Place) and also because the particular sound of this phrase adds to its philosophical power. This section already counts 92 articles so it convenes to recurrent conceptual affirmations that this body (!) of texts develops:
– The body is a material assemblage surrounded by other material assemblages (cf Spinoza)
– The body keeps encountering the other bodies that surrounds it.
– From these encounters, it can result either a beneficial or detrimental affect for both bodies (what Spinoza calls joy and sadness)
– Because the body’s materiality is coherent, the body can only be at one place at a time but it always needs to be at one place.
– Because the body is material, only one body can be at a given place at a time
– From the propositions above, we can deduct that the location of the body is necessarily political
– From the fourth and last proposition, we can say that there is a necessary yet radical choice to be made at each instant about the location of the body.
– The body has no inside
– The body is not one, it is multiple (more on that in an article very soon)
– The body is continuously producing material assemblages
– Part of this production is a body’s desire (cf Deleuze & Guattari)
– A body’s desire can be captured. This is what we call capitalism
– A body itself can be captured. This is what we call totalitarianism
– A body can be not white, not male, not heterosexual, not healthy, not adult, not procreatory, not urban and still remains a body that can legitimately claim for equal legal rights.
– The last proposition is a good thing as no body is simultaneously truly white, male, heterosexual, healthy, adult, procreatory and urban.
– Despite the last proposition, most pieces of design are made for bodies that are truly white, male, heterosexual, healthy, adult, procreatory and urban.
– A piece of design can be specifically made to torture a body
– A piece of design that is not specifically made to torture a body can also violently hurt a body
– A piece of design can be made to trigger beneficial affects to a given (preferably universal body (hint: I am not talking about a comfortable coach; quite the opposite actually)
– A body by its very movement and behavior can profoundly subvert the material environment that was originally set-up to
– Ultimately we don’t really know what a body can do (cf Spinoza again)