“Body’s Law” is an action about a state of transition of the body. Transition means a passage from one point to another. It explores a social state of transition from the state of detention in a jail to the state of being part of a society.
Vincenzo Fiore Marrese, Body’s Law © Marrese
Transition means a bridge-state, a state of passage from one point to another. During this state, a subject, like a body, is not entirely in the starting nor in the ending point of something: it is in between.
In this action, I explore a social state of transition. It is the state of passage from two other states. The starting point is the social state of detention of a body in a jail. The ending point is the social state of a body being part of a civil community, a society. If we presume that a body, generally, is part of a society before entering in jail, we can speak about this state of transition as a state were the body came back into an original social state, so it is a sort of “reintegration”. The action was, in fact, inspired by the reading of a handbook called “Reentering Your Community” a book developed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the United States of America.
The state of detention entails, in fact, the idea that the society needs to take control of some people by control their bodies movements and by containing their bodies inside a building, the prison. The level of the control on the body's movement is related to the penalty that the society believe that is necessary for certain people. For example, if the level of the penalty is high then the body’s could be incarcerated in a very small jail, also without contacts with others prisoners. In the community movements of the bodies looks like free, I mean free on purpose, but, often there are related to the social convention. But, obviously, there is a quite big difference in a body constrained inside a jail from a body constrained inside a social convention.
So, in this action body’s movements is a way to point through an art form, the dance. It’s a way to include an artistic purpose in the action. But action art is not the dance. Artistic action often involves the body of the artist and if an artist uses the body focussing on the movements it looks like that artist want to do dancing. However, action art is not dance nor theatre nor other well-defined forms of art, but in some case entails movements. So, in that cases, the body’s movement is a way to point to an art form, the dance, but remaining in a not well-defined form of art as the action art is. To remain in a not well-defined or not well-explored form of art, the artist uses the body’s movement focussing on the natural language of his body rather to a dance style.
During the action, some of this movements generate some electronic sounds in real time thanks to some electronic devices. The sound is related to movements because is a sort of metaphor of creation. The creation, in the meaning of creativity, is related to art but also to an action executed by the body in general. Again if in the action there are sounds it does not mean that is music, as a well-defined form of art, for example, the dance. The body’s movement generates sounds in real time like an outcome of the action, not with the purpose to make music. There are other sound sources that appear during the action, one is a synthetic voice and another is a sequence of sounds composed originally by the artist. The synthetic voice repeats some phrases taken from the handbook mentioned before. The sequence of sounds, actually, is something close to a music composition. Essentially the sound composition is in contrast with the sounds generates by the movements. It is recorded and it is created without the direct control of the body’s movements, so it is a metaphor of a sort of vital stream that burst into the state of transition without the possibility that you can shape it.
Body is an animal feature rather than a culture feature. To control a body inside a prison often we use technologies. But technologies are also essential in the relationships between bodies and community. Some features of the body are more related to the animal side than others. For example, the language is not related to the animal side as the body’s fluids, like saliva, drool. The artist uses his saliva to stick some paper sheets in the space around him: on the stage, on the wall, on windows etcetera. On the paper sheets, there are some phrases that represent the language: culture. These phrases were taken from the handbook mentioned before.
The action was actually represented at the Battersea Arts Centre in London in the United Kingdom, at KKc - Kaņepes Kultūras centrs and at D27 Creative Hive both in Riga in Latvia, at CCK - Cultural Center Korpus at Minsk in Belarus, at Art Residence Carbon in Kiev in Ukraine, at Charukala Institute, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka in Dhaka in Bangladesh, at Cross Attic – place for interdisciplinary experiments in performing arts in Prague in the Czech Republic, at Teatro Espace in Turin in Italy.
The original sounds composed for Body’s Law (sample).
Vincenzo Fiore Marrese, Musical composition for Body’s Law (sample)