Sophia Oppel

Sophia Oppel / docile bodies 2

A cite-specific iteration of the Docile Bodies body of work, Installed at Roundtable Residency 

Transform your existence into a kind of permanent exercise.

-Michael Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol III: Care of the Self

Self-care, self-tracking applications perpetuate the exertion of hegemonic power while subjecting the user to unpaid digital labour to be mined by corporate identities. docile bodies explores this kind of control in relation to Foucaultian notions of biopower: a control exerted over every facet of being through institutional and self-administered discipline.

Throughout the 6 weeks of the residency I downloaded several self-tracking and exercise applications. The experience and data derived from carrying out the prescribed activities inform the installation; the imagery is comprised of 3D scans of myself following work-out regiments while in this space. By capturing a body in motion, the 3D scanning application is forced to amalgamate body parts into a single, static entity, rendering the mistakes and assumptions of the algorithm hyper-visible. Here the algorithm becomes a stand-in for the corporate, patriarchal gaze and the insidious exertion of the humanist, perfectible self in a digital environment. Additionally, by presenting work that is partially algorithmically made, I implicate myself as a node in the network of laterally exerted dominance and discipline.

The Dragon Academy's classroom and its one-way windows act as structural motifs that conjure up notions of surveillance and discipline. The laser-cuts of the 3D scans on acrylic become transparent barriers; a physicalization of the hierarchical structures that exert themselves upon us online. The projected video is a sterile examination of the 3D scans, re-animating the static body fragments. The textures and grids present in the room are applied to the surfaces of the scans to further institutionalize the body.  

For purposes of documentation, the video and sound piece have been combined into one file. They were installed as separate pieces 

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