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Real DeceptionsThe Contemporary Reinvention of Realism$
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Jennifer Friedlander

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190676124.001.0001

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Corporeal Realism

Corporeal Realism

Bodyworlds and Cloaca

(p.79) Chapter 6 Corporeal Realism
Real Deceptions

Jennifer Friedlander

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares two realist representations of the human body: Körperweltern (Bodyworlds), Gunther Von Hagens’s unprecedented public display of chemically preserved human corpses, and Cloaca, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s electromechanical replication of the functions of the human digestive system from ingestion to excretion. A comparison between these two displays points to the unexpected way in which the droll defecating machine creates more of a disturbance to the categories of true and false and human and inhuman than does the display which stages a confrontation between living spectators and dead human bodies. It contends that Cloaca’s realist approach may confront spectators with a potentially radically desubjectifying encounter.

Keywords:   Körperweltern (Bodyworlds), Cloaca, Julia Kristeva, abject, mimesis, mimicry, Homi Bhabha, Jacques Vaucanson’s Digesting Duck, Piero Manzoni’s Merda d’Artista

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