The construction of the intertextual body that I found lying

By: Gwyneth Nava





Every time I try to define it I find it more difficult, it makes it less viable and it makes me more afraid. I am very frightened to recognize myself more and more. If this were just a stationary portrait there would not be much problem (or maybe there would be more). Yes, I think that stationary self-portraits, when you also remain immobile, are very chaotic because you would cannot overdo it and you would have to write, always about the same thing, find new ways. But at the same time there’s the desperation and the horror of seeing who you really are. That is why what I write always walks with me and with my thinking, which always advances, or at least I know that it moves. The body, and the being, are not in a specific time and place.



Through the collection of writings, texts, images (made up of text and / or capable of being read), I have been able to put together a compilation that I would consider to be a self-portrait which explores the field of non-creative writing. The most precise thing that I can point out is that, from such collection, I have realized that these images are mostly screenshots and are divided into: 1. what I have written at some time in the past, 2.- navigation screens that I later edit to resignify them, 3.- dialogues found in movies (almost always on Netflix), 4.- images I made of my life for some time from the eggs I cooked and its behaviour during the process, 5 .- what other people can make me be or what they can discover about me through conversations. All of this builds my digitized self-portrait, which has more than one reading, being readable for those who look at it, interpret it and direct it.


About the digital body

The body is and has always been the object of representation, mediation device and construction material in the arts, sciences and technologies. It can be understood as a battlefield, a weapon, a labyrinth, a porous surface, a basic, complex and original interface, a means of connection between the inside and the outside. Vehicle of all the senses, prosthesis, mediation between the material and the immaterial, container and content, form of the visible and invisible, limit, box, house. We inhabit a real body, an imagined body, a body created by art, by the media, by new media. We interact with a body that synthesizes all the bodies that have intercepted us historically and imaginary and we deploy and fold images of the body, of the bodies, in each act of symbolization.

Through the word (a visual representation of the body) and consciousness, allowing its content to include characters, actions, movements. This is interesting while the body invites to think from its very state of being alive and being phenomenal. It is the body that contains action, movement and intention, making it clear that the conceptual level is affected by an exercised body, practiced through experience.

The human-artefact relationship: a "new" body. Expanding the proposal by Merleau-Ponty, the knowledge of a substrate of the body and that technologies are a need for expression of that substrate.

The notion of  "we are body" enables a different thought to "we have body", to think that "we are" body would enable us to speak in first person, making it possible to conceive the body as "sensorial, sensible and sensual".

Sensitivity that has been correlated with technology as the need to complete the feeling of the world, to allow a convergence between the interior and the exterior, the visible and the seer, the touched and the touchable, as Hansen affirms, and that it would be part of what Merleau-Ponty wrote at the time when referring to the visible body as "inconclusive, open". This visibility of the body is interesting because it is part of the idea of plurality, of multimedia, which corresponds to the body's way of feeling and that object designers have understood well as the body becomes more and more known is its multiple states, being one of them the digital body. The creation of artefacts or the digitization of the world is nothing more than the result of a need for what we are, not what we have or want to have.

The need to materialize our power of imagination, fiction or fantasy, would generate, under this idea, the creation of artefacts or technologies. In this sense, being digital creates the potential of new content originated from a totally new combination of sources.

The human being is a multimedia being, who has different ways of organizing what he/she feels and what he/she expresses through his/her existence. Said in the words of Merleau-Ponty, the carnal being is: "Being of several leaves or several faces, being of latency and presenting a certain absence, is a prototype of the Being, of which our body is sentient sensitive" (Merleau-Ponty, 1966)






The contemporary arts mix, hybridize their forms, materials or methods and use, mention and simulate the body. Actions and performance, dance, theatre, music, plastic gesture, audio visual movement, digitization, virtuality, interactivity and interconnectivity: a mixed, impure and eclectic set that makes the body appear as a basic matter, as an indisputable reference, as a central device.


It is difficult for me to keep a line (like the one above) of writing; The only thing I know is that I always talk about myself, I look for myself, I find myself, I change, I write in the words of others, I build myself in some way, I build my perception, I teach myself, I shelter even the word that is lying down and that I stepped on for some reason.



Look and gather

We are multimedia beings, multisensory and we are in a world created by different types of prostheses precisely for this reason. As stated by Tomás Maldonado, we have created motor, sensory-perceptive, intellective and syncretic prostheses for our condition, "in practice a messiah to whom we entrust the task of developing, in our name, certain functions that we do, no matter why, we prefer not to assume in person "(Maldonado, 1998). It's like standing in front of a mirror. If I am the model at this moment: what would that painter paint? Simple: a body in front of a machine, an eye supported by an artifice that modifies its dioptres to see better the keys, the screen of the computer; this, leaving out the chair, the table, the incandescent energy-saving light bulb and many other things that are related to a better disposition of the human in his/her daily life, of a fulfilment of his/her needs.

The mirror, as Brea tells me, "always ready to be filled with any present, always infidels “(Brea, 2010). The mirrors are always in the present, in a here and now, they keep nothing for later, they are not past nor future. Its optical game provides us with a different view of the being that perceives and is perceived at the same time. The order of the gaze is simultaneous, although reversed by the refraction of light. If what I observe is the truth, when I see myself in the mirror, the one who appears there is my truth?

The relation of the body and the artificial would correspond to a modification of the organism caused by what is not part of the natural. However, what I try to affirm here is that there is no new body by the mere fact of the body-artificiality relationship, but what has been generated is a new knowledge that we have of the same body, not only its way of perceiving , but its form of expression, in other words: we have expanded the knowledge we have about our existence.

The intertext is not a cultural phenomenon clearly restricted to the artistic creation, or in a broad sense to the production and interpretation of texts, on the contrary, it is a generalized mode, intrinsic to human thinking, therefore extending to all fields of activity human exist. In the sphere of culture, it enables combinations that go from one extreme to the other, from redundant to unusually renovating. In both cases it intervenes with a remarkable strength and vitality, both for the ritualized splendour of repetition in traditional societies, as well as societies with cultures of impetuous or frequent dynamism, in all of which it acquires a degree of importance that cannot be neglected or minimized its conservative or reconstructive function within the human culture, and not only in the artistic culture.





After the event in which words no longer find them in me, I begin to find them (even without looking for them) everywhere. Being composed words with others, already forming a micro-portrait of something but if I can read myself inside that, I make them pass through me, making them read to me, read me in them; as if they were a mirror.

I like to listen to me, see me, read me, in the gestural, sensory, visual, and auditory images that others generate. It can be a writer or a shopkeeper, a filmmaker or Twitter server, a lecturer or the passenger of a bus.

I could not build only what can emanate from me (I speak of the words I spit), I think they do not cover me; they are never enough ______.

In addition, the value of the design that should increasingly seek a kind of "transparency" that allows an adequate artificial / natural interaction should be considered.




- Cuerpo, arte y tecnología (María de los Ángeles de Rueda)

-El descentramiento: cuerpo-danza-interactividad (Alejandre Ceriani)

-Metaformance metamedia (Jaime del Val)

-Cuerpo e intertexto, la corporeidad como manifestación abierta en la obra de videodanza (Susana Temperley)