Volumetric Striation and the Tactile Burden of Severality

Saas-Fee Slide - Courtesy D ROX Productions

(abstract submitted to a themed session entitled "hybrid bodies and social change in popular culture" to be held at the 2008 north american society for sport sociology conference)

In What is Philosophy?, Deleuze and Guattari suggest that the philosopher might borrow from the percepts and affects created by the artist as a means for the positive creation of new concepts in thought. Towards such an end, this paper retrospectively traces the work of the British sculptor Antony Gormley to examine the emergence of a human body that has become dematerialized into myriad forms and explores the multiple subjectivities such a physical fragmentation of the body implies. In turn, we examine both the political response of the State as its control of such bodies moves beyond the striated spaces of enclosure to fluid, smooth space, as well as the mechanisms of mediation in sport that contribute to this control, both technically and discursively. Finally, Gormley's most recent work suggests an embodied tactility and severality as a means of resistance for the subject that stands counter to this new striation of the body. With theoretical contributions from Deleuze and Guattari, Virilio, Massumi and Ettinger, we situate and conceptualize both the new striation of the body-object in smooth space (a volumetric striation) and the potential nomadic response of severality as a complex interplay of moving bodies, flexible subjectivities and haptic perception.


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