Monday, 2 July 2012

If I could draw my PhD....

If I was able to express in art what I'm trying to do by analysing what is inside and how women feel it would look like this:

Salvador Dali City of Drawers

If only I could embody Salvador Dali that is!

This last couple of weeks I've been trying to get to grips with pregnant embodiment via a multiple body analysis (using Lock and Scheper-Hughes' notion of Individual Body, Social Body and Body Politic). I'm finding that as with theories of embodiment themselves I am awash with mental imagery and physical feelings of what it is to embody a social (and cultural) idea of what reproducing is and what having an occupied womb feels like. What I'm finding most problematic is turning this into something tangible, that makes sense to those outside of my head who are given the task of deciphering what it is I'm trying to say. 

Studying the humanities (or social science - when it comes to anthropology no-one can decide!) has introduced, rejuvenated and reaffirmed a love for artistic expression. I'm finally able to connect how humans have coped with a lack of the right words to describe how they feel - what they have done with a burning desire to express how they experience the world. Making me at once liberated and dismayed that no matter how much I would like to dance my way through a viva voce I will never be allowed.

I have discovered one saving grace though, the work of Julia Kristeva  and her writings about poetic language and the semiotic chora (the pre-lingual subject in process). From what I can begin to understand is that she is willing to explore the pre-cultural human in the womb, ourselves before we become social selves. This entails trying to grasp what urges are and can be - if there is any chance that some part of us cannot be explained via the route of social construction. 

I spend so much of my time thinking about how our every thought and feeling is manipulated by our surroundings and experiences - a very European approach to a world we have perhaps lost touch with, a spirituality that has been analysed away. Kristeva has bought something back for me, in a way given me permission to think through my own birth experiences and those of others. To be able to dig deep into other cultures and narratives that celebrate a female, maternal, real, connection to the earth - a way of metaphorically kicking off my shoes and feeling the earth or sand in between my toes. I can close my eyes and see liquid, blood, organs, space and what I imagine to be the collective wombs of women around the world, I can imagine myself swimming through dark, sticky red liquids that relate to womanhood and reproduction.

If I only I could find the right words......

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