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#04290

nichola feldman-kiss: mean body

Artist
Nichola Feldman-Kiss
Date
2007
Publisher
Carleton University Art Gallery
Format
Catalogues
Details
Paper
ISBN
0-7709-0512-9
Size
16.5 × 24 × 0.5 cm
Length
48 pp
Genre
Contemporary Art, Installation Art, Theory
Description

Medicine has assembled a lot of scientific knowledge about the dead and the sick, but isn’t it amazing that the final frontier in scientific research may be neither space nor the subatomic forces, but the living human… the observer him or herself?

nichola feldman-kiss describes her mean body project as an “expanded performance of self-portraiture,” inviting us to look beyond the computer technology and links with science that might first capture our attention in this innovative work. It is true that even her use of new technologies designed to map the human body has its counterpart in the early history of the self-portrait in European art. Mimetic self-portraiture as we know it only appeared with the invention of the flat mirror in Venice in the sixteenth century. Similarly, the self-fashioning she undertook in preparation for the project has rarely been absent, in one form or another, from the self-portrait. In taking her naked body as her subject, feldman-kiss undermines the conventions of the female life model — to be depicted by a male artist, of course — reminding us that the self-portrait also reveals the complexities of gender and status underlying artistic identity.

But while we can position it within the history of self-portraiture, mean body troubles the mimetic principles on which the traditional self-portrait rests. For one thing, the information provided by the digital scans has an abstract quality that is not necessarily attached to a specific material form: the numeric sequences in classically bound express feldman-kiss’s body geometry just as precisely as the images in 360 1° rotational views but bypass completely the notion of resemblance. Philosophically, mean body is part of an ongoing identity narrative framed by the artist’s interest in psychoanalytic and feminist theories of subjectivity. It raises questions about the immaterial element in the self-portrait — the self’s essence, its unique authenticity. At the same time, because in the context of the mean body database the self can only be compared to other states of the self, it challenges the binary structure of self/other relationships. Whereas the underlying mystery of self-portraiture has been described as “how an individual sees himself or herself as other,” feldman-kiss presents her body in “a crowd of itself.”

Part of nichola feldman-kiss’s extraordinary project combining the means of science with the goals of art, this book documents and discusses the work contained in her ‘mean body’ set of works. After exercising for months to obtain an ideally shaped physique, she had her entire body laser scanned, resulting in eighty-two 3D digital representations of her form, which she used to create the sculptures and bookworks in this series. This book contains a foreword by Diana Nemiroff, an essay by Kim Sawchuk, colour plates, a catalogue of works and biographical notes.

Softcover, perfect-bound, b/w & colour

  1. feldman-kiss mean body
 

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