As artists, writers, and thinkers, we are often encouraged to consider the human body as a type of material: as an object that can be freely regarded, interpreted, adapted, and critiqued. In this capacity, it is easy to overlook the ethical stakes involved with public presentations of the human body. What is more, bodies that are presented as public objects (and therefore as accessible and available objects) are often also bodies that occupy precarious social positions. As artists, writers, and thinkers, then, we have a responsibility towards the bodies we portray, whether that body is our own or someone else’s. In this lecture, Dr. Nadia de Vries will share critical insights from her own research on the presentation and circulation of vulnerable bodies, and offer practical considerations for those interested in, or currently working with the human body as an aesthetic material.
Dr. Nadia de Vries (1991) is a poet and essayist. She is the author of the critical memoir Kleinzeer (Uitgeverij Pluim, 2019; in Dutch) and the poetry collections Dark Hour (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) and I Failed to Swoon (2021). In 2020, she defended her PhD dissertation titled Digital Corpses: Creation, Appropriation, and Reappropriation, about the online representation of dead and dying human bodies, at the University of Amsterdam.