The Body Electric !LINK!
YBCA presents the West Coast debut of The Body Electric, an expansive array of more than 70 works revealing the ways that technology changes our collective understanding of the body, everyday life, and sense of self.
The Body Electric
Looking across the past 50 years, The Body Electric presents works by an intergenerational and international group of artists who have seized upon the screen as a place to rethink the body and identity. Featuring video, sculpture, photographs, virtual reality, and more, from over 45 artists and collectives, the exhibition places a particular emphasis on gender, sexuality, race, and class.
The Malleable BodyThe presentation concludes with works by Josh Kline, Carolyn Lazard, Candice Lin and Patrick Staff, Andrea Crespo, Rhys Ernst, and Marianna Simnett that reflect on the malleability of the body, speaking to themes of care, surgical intervention, and chemical and biological processes imperceptible to the human eye.
By the time the 21st century got underway, Levin could ask these questions in his own lab at the Forsyth Institute, at Harvard. How was electricity setting the polarity of a cell? He and Ken Robinson, working at Purdue University, discovered a proton pump. Protons are hydrogen ions. This pump specializes in making sure hydrogen and potassium are kept in strict ratios. On an unfertilized frog egg, proton pumps are speckled evenly around the whole surface.
That means that as cells differentiate, each new cell that cleaves off is already connected to the cells around it. Long before nerve cells develop synapses, our non-excitable embryonic cells are equipped with this other, much faster, more electrical way of communicating.
In the early 1800s the growing sciences of chemistry and electricity offered provocative new tools to help solve an ancient problem: what is the nature of life? The recent experiments of Luigi Galvani hinted at electricity as a life force.
Aldini's most famous demonstration was on the recently hanged body of convict George Forster at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. The dramatic results shocked spectators, convincing some they were witnessing a dead man come to life. The vivid descriptions of the scene in popular newspapers made an impression on the public. Could the dead be brought back to life?
Mary Shelley chose "The Modern Prometheus" as the subtitle to her novel. In Greek mythology, Prometheus, the creator of mankind, stole fire from Olympus, against the wishes of Zeus, to give it to man. He is doomed to eternal punishment as a result. The Prometheus myth resonates with Shelley's story: Dr. Frankenstein, too, created life; he suffers unyielding punishment as a consequence of his action; and, though Shelley is inexplicit about the Doctor's methods of animating his Creature, it echoes the illicit harnessing of electricity, a kind of fire. The epigraph chosen by Shelley comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, and quotes Adam's grievance to his own Creator: "Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay / To mould me Man, did I solicit thee / From darkness to promote me?"
The application of electrical shocks became a popular treatment for a vast array of medical conditions in the 19th century and beyond. While the limits and intricacies of biological electricity were not yet known, the findings of Galvani laid the groundwork for modern neuroscience and electrophysiology.
The composition of the atmosphere, and the properties of the gases, have been ascertained; the phenomena of electricity have been developed; the lightnings have been taken from the clouds; and, lastly, a new influence has been discovered, which has enabled man to produce from combinations of dead matter effects which were formerly occasioned only by animal organs.
I sing the body electric, The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul? And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred,And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful than the most beautiful face.Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.
"I am mostly familiar with how the song has taught me there is a true connection between gendered violence and racist violence. There is a weaponization of the body happening right now in America. Our bodies are being turned against us. Black and brown bodies are being portrayed as inherently dangerous. A Black person's size and stature are being used as reason for murder against them. This is ultimately a deranged fear of the power and capabilities of black people. It is the same evil idea that leads us to blame women for attacks by their abusers. Normalizing rape, domestic abuse and even murder of women of all races is an effort to take the humanity out of our female bodies. To objectify and to ridicule the female body is ultimately a symptom of fear of the power women hold."
The elements in our bodies, like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, have a specific electrical charge. Almost all of our cells can use these charged elements, called ions, to generate electricity.
The contents of the cell are protected from the outside environment by a cell membrane. This cell membrane is made up of lipids that create a barrier that only certain substances can cross to reach the cell interior. Not only does the cell membrane function as a barrier to molecules, it also acts as a way for the cell to generate electrical currents. Resting cells are negatively charged on the inside, while the outside environment is more positively charged. This is due to a slight imbalance between positive and negative ions inside and outside the cell. Cells can achieve this charge separation by allowing charged ions to flow in and out through the membrane. The flow of charges across the cell membrane is what generates electrical currents.
Cells control the flow of specific charged elements across the membrane with proteins that sit on the cell surface and create an opening for certain ions to pass through. These proteins are called ion channels. When a cell is stimulated, it allows positive charges to enter the cell through open ion channels. The inside of the cell then becomes more positively charged, which triggers further electrical currents that can turn into electrical pulses, called action potentials. Our bodies use certain patterns of action potentials to initiate the correct movements, thoughts and behaviors.
A disruption in electrical currents can lead to illness. For example, in order for the heart to pump, cells must generate electrical currents that allow the heart muscle to contract at the right time. Doctors can even observe these electrical pulses in the heart using a machine, called an electrocardiogram or ECG. Irregular electrical currents can prevent heart muscles from contracting correctly, leading to a heart attack. This is just one example showing the important role of electricity in health and disease.
Electromagnetism falls under the category of physics. While many once thought that electricity and magnetism were separate forces, scientists uncovered that the two are actually linked. First, a magnetic field is created by an electric current. Second, a voltage is produced when a magnetic field changes.
Breakthroughs in biomedicine and synthetic bioengineering require predictive, rational control over anatomical structure and function. Recent successes in manipulating cellular and molecular hardware have not been matched by progress in understanding the patterning software implemented during embryogenesis and regeneration. A fundamental capability gap is driving desired changes in growth and form to address birth defects and traumatic injury. Here we review new tools, results, and conceptual advances in an exciting emerging field: endogenous non-neural bioelectric signaling, which enables cellular collectives to make global decisions and implement large-scale pattern homeostasis. Spatially distributed electric circuits regulate gene expression, organ morphogenesis, and body-wide axial patterning. Developmental bioelectricity facilitates the interface to organ-level modular control points that direct patterning in vivo. Cracking the bioelectric code will enable transformative progress in bioengineering and regenerative medicine.
In an age dominated by digital technology, The Body Electric explores themes of the real and the virtual, the organic and the artificial, moving from the world into the screen and back again. Looking across the past fifty years, the exhibition presents an intergenerational and international group of artists who have seized upon the screen as a place to rethink the body and identity, with a particular emphasis on questions of gender, sexuality, class, and race. The exhibition contextualizes contemporary artists who today engage with digital technology and the influence of the Internet within a broader art historical narrative to reveal shared interests that emerge across generations, despite differing technological means.
The electricity crackling over the surface of the human body singes clothing, vaporizes sweat into scalding steam, and renders metal objects so hot that they burn the skin. Occasionally, all that steam even blows victims' shoes and socks off.
Following her accident, Pandolph-Peary forgot how to use everyday objects, like a potato peeler; she could no longer get from point A to point B in her hometown; she suffered migraines and fatigue; she tripped over her sentences or suddenly lost the ability to understand what other people were saying; she was often dizzy and off-balance; she had tremors and chronic pain, and would unpredictably lose control of various body parts; and every now and then, when her nerves were on fire, even the slightest touch was painfully intense. 041b061a72