Anna Kérchy, Associate Professor of English, University of Szeged, Hungary, Ph.D. in Literature, University of Szeged, DEA in Semiology, Université Paris VII Denis Diderot, post-graduate degree in English/Hungarian translation and interpretation, and Habilitation, University of Debrecen. Her research interests include gender and body studies, the post-semiotics of the embodied subject, intermedial cultural representations, interfacings of Victorian and postmodern fantastic imagination, women’s art, and children’s literature. She published three monographs: Alice in Transmedia Wonderland (2016), Body-Texts in the Novels of Angela Carter. Writing from a Corporeagraphic Point of View (2008), and Essays on Feminist Aesthetics, Narratology, and Body Studies (in Hungarian, 2018). She edited collections on Posthumanism in Fantastic Fiction (2018) and Postmodern Reinterpretations of Fairy Tales (2011), and co-edited What Constitutes the Fantastic? (2010), The Iconology of Law and Order (2012), Exploring the Cultural History of Continental European Freak Shows (2012), as well as special journal issues: on Feminist Interventions into Intermedial Studies for EJES (2017), on Transmediating and Translating Children’s Literature for Bookbird (2018), and on Interspecies Encounters in Contemporary Filmic Fantasies for Americana (2018).
Body art performances experiment in provocative, transgressive ways with the human body that becomes, simultaneously, an instrument, a medium, an agent, and an end product of artistic creation. They invite calculated corporeal reactions from audiences in a multitude of affectively, perceptually, and politically engaging ways. A brief overview is given of the evolution of body art from its roots in avant-garde performance arts to current trends of carnal art to shed light on the changing cultural-historical interpretation of human embodiment. It reveals how body art’s growing dissatisfaction with anthropocentrism entails an inevitable move toward humanimal poetics and politics. The shift of focal point from humanoid embodiment to interspecies relationalities and posthuman enworldedness marks a major paradigm shift of body art. Mapping the aesthetic manifestations, ethical stakes, and corporeal experience of this shift—that extends the notion of subjectivity beyond the human species—is the main aim of the essay. (AK)