The body of Others is an experimental video that engages the dynamic relationship between LGBT identity, embodied subjectivity and technologies of representation. The video asserts a dynamic relationship between subjectivity and the representation of LGBT identities that are presented through ideological systems of representation, performed by the body. The project interrogates how sexuality, which is fluid and publicly invisible, manifests as a stable and visible. The body of Others resists oppressive ideological forces that aim to fix subjects and restrict sexuality to a binary of normal and Other. In the video, the body drifts over itself into space. The body fuses with the unknown and becomes an amalgam of skin, flesh, fur, textiles and light. New, indeterminate forms move in and out of darkness, in response to reverberating and stark sounds, to establish a fluid embodied space. We are left to question the coherence of bodies, identities and sexualities.
As LGBT subjects are made visible, represented and disseminated in the public sphere through technology including film, video, photography and the internet, one must consider both the productive and repressive forces at play. Visibility and representation can provide political and personal benefits for minority groups that have experienced symbolic annihilation. However, there are problems that arise in constructing and representing LGBT subjects. Representation does not accurately capture ‘the real’ and often hides much as it portrays. The representation of others often involves stereotypical portrayals that are meant to be representative of an entire group. As LGBT people are represented in the public sphere and mainstream media, there is risk of reproducing dominant ideologies, such as gender binaries and distinctions between normal and Other. In addition, the visibility of coherent identities may prompt practices of surveillance and paradoxically limit the range of identities a subject might draw from. The body of Others rejects the assumption that representation equals liberation and looks towards the repressive aspects of visibility for the production of subjectivity.
The body of Others finds freedom in the failure to comply with a predetermined order of bodies and identities. In the video, segments of the body morph and shift into one another, refusing to stabilize into a coherent whole. It is uncertain if we are witnessing the interior or exterior of a body, male or female. By resisting form and gender, the video opens opportunities for the production of alternate (queer) engagements and experience.
The body of Others uses the same technologies of representation that restrict and fix identities but rather uses technology to produce open and incomplete subjectivities. The video does not aim to represent ‘the real’ by using the screen as a window onto reality. Rather, experimental video methods are used that do not follow a narrative structure or the conventions of cinema. The video remains open and inconclusive, allowing the viewer to intersect their subjectivity to establish meaning.