Daniel Evans MFA student, Archipelago
What does the word “dyscorpia” mean to you?
It speaks to both a dissolution and de-materialization of the body – becoming both less physical and less cleanly circumscribed. It opens up a space to explore how conventional notions of the boundaries that define the body are constructed and policed, and how they may be challenged.
How does your work speak to the body and our relationship to technology? What is the crossover between the ethics and aesthetics of your work?
My work deals with the datafication of the body, exploring its generative potential while simultaneously highlighting the ongoing practice of systemic data violence under surveillance capitalism. The genesis of my work in this exhibition is the location history of my Google user account--a digital trace of my body's occupancy of physical space, extracted and commodified for corporate profit. I re-imagine these data traces as the topography of a virtual space; the setting for my re-telling of a cluster of Selkie folk-tales. These narratives detail the capture and enslavement of a supernatural being through the extraction and theft of a body part, and of the being's eventual emancipation through reclaiming it. I am using the using the latent violence of folk tale to highlight the extractive logic underlying our asymmetrical relationship with the entities that collect and use our data, and calling for increased data sovereignty.
What do you believe are the limits of the body in 2019? Can you envision how it will be different in 50 years from now? 100?
When I think about the limits of the body, I find myself thinking of limits as the products of social forces - that is to say, how social forces determine what bodies are permitted to exist and be seen in public space, and under what constraints (Mbembe's notion of Necropolitics). Our current social climate is characterized by an increasing investment in revealing how certain bodies (abled, cis, male, white) have far fewer limitations placed on their ability to be present and visible. At the same time, there is extensive backlash (and punitive legislation) being deployed in an attempt to restrict the movement and visibility of marginalized bodies advocating for their right to exist and be seen. I have to hold out hope that the revealing of these inequalities translates into meaningful action to address them, as the next 50 to 100 years compounds this tension with increasing displacement and scarcity under forces of global climate change.
Wow. That got kinda depressing toward the end.