Ethics, morality and the frameworks of these phenomena are the subject of constant study, not only by sociologists and psychologists, but also by art historians. Humankind has gone through many “stages” in the past; we will not go into the comparison details about sexuality, morals, and social behavior during different eras. Instead we will focus on the contemporary times and will try to figure out what currently shocks and evokes hot discussions in the society.
Let’s start from the question “What is acceptable?”. Of course, it is deeply personal issue and depends on each respondent. To see a broad picture, we have to turn to the history of technological progress. With the inventing of photography the whole new world of “private” had opened to the world. We became over of some things that were first highly personal and of no public significance.
But there were definitely an interest in what was behind that fence. People have always been voyeurists to some point, but only in 20th century they had acquired so many tools and means to fulfill this urge. We can see lives of others through the photographs (and watch it through the lens, “other’s” life is shown from the TV and cinema screens, mass-media is all about it, newspapers, internet. The latter is the biggest revelation and we do not even want to start with the social networks.
The concept of private life is still relevant, but in what way? In the weird one. All we are left with is our bodies and feelings. Sex, food, violence – any kind of intimate thing is not that intimate anymore. The basic things that are still left to us is our body and the things happening to it, along with the feelings we often hide due to the social rituals of being “normally happy”. That is one of the reason a simple human body still startles our minds. It is still a controversial topic, it is still sacred and forbidden. One of the reasons for that is quite trivial, it is the matter of the omnipresent fear of death. At the media-filled age we live in, human physique is one of the few things that hasn’t gone through the digital transformation. Still flesh and bones, no wires here. Naturally, with all of the changes that our vision (in the broad sense) has experienced, there are only a few things left to the imagination and tactile senses: somatic, fragile nature of our own bodies.
We are still afraid of the changes, of the acceptance of our own nature; the possibility of body’s unpredictable metamorphoses scares us. At the same time it is fascinating. It is real, it gives the viewer a certain sense of admiration. Such art, that explores the possibility and alterations of human body’s fate is very much provocative and daring (still!). It bothers us, it’s universal to every person in the world. And we cannot help but wonder, what will happen to us, to our bodies, to the people we know. And we are not some lone wanderers in these questions – the world of art wonders with us.