The Living Human Body As Art

Here on Earth there’s a sort of planetary economy that used to be based on work. Actual, physical work. You got on your knees and got your hands dirty and planted seeds and if you waited long enough, plants would grow. And if you waited for them to grow tall and proud, you could pick them, turn them into cloth, and weave them into a garment. Or if they were food, you could throw them into the back of a wagon, drive them to the village square and sell them for money.

And then radio came along, and then television. And people don’t want to turn on their set to listen to the rustle of grain or to see a loom clacking away, they want to see a face. They want to see people. In particular, beautiful people.

So began the living human body as art.

We began to dress and act as though we were in a movie or on TV, modeling ourselves after what we saw in the glowing glass, thinking it was a mirror. We thought we could imitate what we saw in the picture, unaware of what was going on just outside the edges of the screen: Massive lamps, heavy cameras, directors doing sign language, a hundred grips running with looped cords, and boom microphones were all posed just outside the line of sight.

We thought we could be like them.

Now people think their lives should run like a movie, that what they say should be gifable, and that the outfits they pick out should be worthy of history.

It takes a lot to make a movie; about one hour of work goes into one minute of film…and that’s for a small indie project. The question is, are you really willing to put that much work into your life? (Apart from the fact that that would be mathematically impossible.)

The living body as art is a decontextualization of life. The body you see on screen, wind-blown hair just so, outfit just so, quips and quotes just so, exists in a certain context. A context outside reality. Redefining beauty standards doesn’t mean you should be fat or just not take care of yourself. It means you should think about what a healthy, happy person looks like in the context of life. Dirty, everyday, mundane, natural life with nobody filming or feeding you lines.