If a thing is certain is that 2013 has been a year full of interesting body/academia related projects. As the year quickly comes to end, I thought I should better do an overview of the most interesting discoveries I have made throughout 2013: exhibitions, news, blogs.
Top 3 body related exhibitions: A year for the naked body
1. La mecanique des dessous. Une histoire indiscrete de la silhouette (5th July-24th November 2013, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris). Not just underwear- but going behind the “scenes”, understanding the mechanics and how they shaped and modeled the body (great teaser videos by the way!)
2. The Human Body Exhibition (22nd of March-4th of August 2013, Muzeul Antipa, Bucharest).
This is not a new exhibition in any way, but it has been a first (from many points of view) in the Romanian public space. Therefore, it made it on my top 3 list. For those interested in the discussions and academic events that were organised around it, take a look at a blog dedicated to them: http://descoperindcorpuluman.wordpress.com/
3. “Masculine/Masculine” (24th of September 2013 and 2nd of January 2014, Musee d’Orsay, Paris)
As I have previously written about it (see here), it seems that Musee d’Orsay has given some thought at how they should make a delightful autumn for us (rumors have it that “us” is referring mainly to men though). What’s important to be noticed is this exhibition is part of a whole trend of bringing forward the nude male body (a trend started by the famous exhibition “Nude men, from 1800 to present day” from the Leopold museum).
Top 3 news on the human body: genes, cyborgs and AI
1. The Bionic arm (December 11th 2013): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-25323252
(though it is an older news, but in the same line, my favourite is the one about the Eyeborg project: http://eyeborgproject.com/)
and Rex, the bionic man (the attraction of Britain’s Science Museum, February 2013).
2. Patents over the human genome (June 12th 2013): “US supreme court has ruled unanimously that natural human genes cannot be patented“
Read more about it in a previous post, here (about what is the link between Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy, genes and the body as your enemy)
3. The third gender option (Germany, November 1st 2013): “A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose “indeterminate” if the child shows both male and female characteristics.”
Top 3 blogs on the human body (seen through the eyes of academia)
2. The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice: a wonderful blog for all those interested in a historical take on death and deathways, morbid curiosities and the human body
3. Deathsplanation: the witty academic blog of a PhD student interested in “death (and science)” (my favourite by far was the post trying to answer the question “If R2-D2 wore shoes, what size would they be?“)
All in all it’s been a year when the human body was definitely in the spotlight: its boundaries have been called into question and the line between natural/artificial, given/ones will have become thinner and thinner. What 2014 has in store remains to be seen, but it’s a certainty that it will be a year in which we would have to make our choices on the matter. It is already announcing as a heated year, given the debate over the “personhood” of monkeys…
Thus, in tune with the thoughts above, I will conclude this year and get ready for the one to come with the quote: “There are three constants in life…change, choice and principles” (Stephen Covey)