Open Anti-Bodies

'Anti-Bodies: beyond the body ideal' explores different attitudes to the body. It contrasts the particularity of the artist’s body-concept against the ideal body-machine of the Olympic athlete, so revealing underlying idealisations of the body as they are reproduced within different everyday social contexts. Contemporary artworks and proposals that respond to the Anti-Bodies curatorial theme can be submitted and featured via this online platform. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new or existing work in any form that they consider respond to the Anti-Bodies theme. The platform allows for submitting works, storing all works, curatorial selections and displaying selections. Curators, artists, and others, will be invited to curate their own selections from the submitted projects.

In the medical sense, it refers to the ‘Anti-Bodies’ produced by our immune systems in response to things that threaten us and so the title is used as a poetic idea of ‘my body’ fighting off the idea of the ideal body.  In the context of cultural politics, Anti-Bodies refers to the underlying models of the ideal body which produce power hierarchies, for example around issues such as race, gender, sexuality or disability, privileging those ‘bodies’ closest to the supposed ideal model.

As a political event, Anti-Bodies refers to the way in which the Olympics applies the ideal model of the athlete to the state striving for supremacy in the sporting arena, with the athlete becoming an emblem of state identity and a metaphor for political wellbeing. Is an opportunity to unpack the way in which the Olympics refers to a fantasy of universalism (a Western concept based upon the ideal of common shared values), based upon the model of the ideal body, which can work as a kind of cultural imperialism. In the case of the Paralympics, disabled athletes are also invited to compete and aspire to be ideal, even though this isn’t possible, by transcending their disabilities. Rather than accepting and including difference and disability, the Olympics asks athletes to overcome their own particular body’s limitations.  

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