Respatialising the Body: The Ontologically In-between Subject in Orlan’s Body of Work

In: Intervening Spaces
Author: Burcu Baykan

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Abstract

This chapter explores the respatialisation of the embodied experience of space through the French multimedia and performance artist Orlan’s body and identity altering practices. By primarily focusing on the artist’s multifaceted surgery-performance series, The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan (1990–1993) and her subsequent series of digital self-portraits, Self-Hybridizations (1998–2007), this chapter traces the complex relationships between the human and the non-human domains that appear in her work, as well as the mutating, in-between bodily space that is configured within these meetings and crossovers. Thus, the main intent of this chapter is to engage with and explore these dynamic, unstable and transient states of being that Orlan’s work reflects; the metamorphic, in-between areas related to the understanding of self in ontological, philosophical and artistic sense. The investigation undertaken here for this purpose primarily draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s formulation of the body through their theory of becoming-other.