Your Body is a Temple: Flesh and Divinity

Blobjects are transmutable: in “When Blobjects Rule the Earth” Bruce Sterling describes the terminator- a human shaped skeleton, surrounded by liquid, motile material, as a blobject.

This may seem antithetical to human bodies, which we view as static, but that’s really not the case. We grow and change as we mature, and even after our growth plates have sealed our bodies are not static. Our skin, our “packaging” will grow and stretch as we gain weight, and snap back when we lose it. Even our body fat distribution can change based on age and hormone levels.

The idea of humans as blobjects speaks to me particularly as a transgender man. My body is very much not static, and I’ve watched it change rapidly over the last two years. Most dramatically, this last summer I removed about three pounds of flesh and 18 square inches of skin from my chest.

The second inspiration for my project is the saying “your body is a temple.” The most common usage of this term, mostly from religions that have bans or taboos on body modification, including Judaism and Christianity, comes with the subtext “… so you shouldn’t change it,” but, my body is MY temple, and I have claimed it as my own.

Why does my fleshy form have no head? I’ve drawn inspiration from the works of Nicola Samori, who distorts figures reminiscent of Italian Renaissance artwork, primarily their faces. To me, Samori’s work has spoken to a distrust and distortion that I feel in regards to Christianity, with Christian art as both metaphor for the church as a whole, and also the very real propaganda that it is. Samori often distorts the faces of the figures in his work, speaking to a loss of reason and personhood. Additionally, by leaving the figure headless, I am highlighting the nature of flesh as an entity in its own right, not just as the vehicle of the mind.

Nicola Samori, 2016, oil on wood, 100cmx100cm

The fleshy form may seem familiar to you- I’ve drawn inspiration from the many statues of “Crouching Venus.” This is partially out of necessity- this is my first time 3D modeling and I suspect I would drown without a real 3D object to reference. Also, though, what exemplifies the body-as-divine more than neoclassical Hellenic sculpture?

Crouching Venus By John Nost the Elder, Signed and dated 1702

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