from: The mutated body


Written by Jorinde Seijdel in a Montevideo/TBA publication,1998


Peter Bogers' Apart(1996) shows images of isolated parts of the body on four screens, placed next to each other. From left to right, we see a clenched fist, a head seen from above, an open hand, and a bare foot, seen from below - these are scanned video stills moving in a loop. The organs are floating freely in the image, and show various revolving, vibrating or punching rhythms of motion: the fist, for example, draws back and then strikes out powerfully, while the head is turning around, and the other hand and the foot are moving backwards. In this constant acceleration, the body parts eventually run amok. Captured in isolation, they seem to want to escape their predicament, without actually being able to break free from, or come closer to, each other - as they were controlled from within, but by a force outside themselves.


What, then, is the identity and ideology of Bogers' disintegrated, mutated and alienated bodies? What is their context and deeper truth? At face value, they are devoid of any kind of hierarchy, of a central point, which gives them coherence and unity. The organs, which seem to be in an embryonic state of weightlessness, are also restrained, held in quarantine, by the hardware and software of the technology with which they are represented; it is precisely this technology which defines their context, identity and truth. Technology is not merely used as a presentation model, instrument, medium or shell, but rather, is part of the content.

Bogers' bodies seem to be possessed by an alien bodily order, which has taken hold of them internally. They are following a logic, which has nothing to do with us. They do not control technology, but rather, it controls them, mutates them internally. The traditional rift between body and technology seems to have been eradicated, to make place for a hybrid fusion. Bogers' bodies are no longer superior to technology and matter, but rather, are completely absorbed by them. They are an ecstatic representation of the ongoing mutilation of the body. This is alarming, but only if considered from the traditional idea of the pure controlling and controlled body.

Now that the body is becoming more and more contaminated, not only by external, but also by internal (bio)technological prostheses and genetic manipulation, now that there are dreams of cultivating parts of bodies and bodies without heads, the fusion of body and technology is no longer a nightmare or science fiction, rather, it has become reality. Bogers shows the body in a precarious position, but without provoking a nostalgic yearning for 'the times when all was as it should be' -of course, we now know that such times never existed, but were only invented in retrospect. Rather, Bogers' work represents a courageous spirit of survival, and attempts to let go of the old and familiar, in favour of the strangeness and uncertainty of the metamorphosis.


 The metamorphosis of the world

Bogers' installations can also be regarded as attempts to make the fundamental chasm between the inner and the outside world, between subject and object, between image/representation and reality, visible and tangible. Bogers emphatically shows the confinement of the images within the order governing the representation, a strange, introverted order, which does not belong to ordinary reality. Everything looks so miss-happen and strange that you are forced into reflection on the status of both worlds, the ordinary world and the one represented. It is as if the manifestations in Bogers' work were in a different dimension, with a different gravity and different laws of space and time. Considered from the sphere of the normal and conventional, it is governed by total disintegration and fragmentation, and you are the observer of alienating, introverted, rituals. There are barely answers to the whys and wherefores, on the contrary, questions are raised. There are no coordinating, narrative, contexts: the images mainly relate to themselves and to each other.


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