Lecture: Homo Corporalis: The Bodily Man. Body expelled, and body acquired

Lecture: Homo Corporalis: The Bodily Man. Body expelled, and body acquiredLecture: Homo Corporalis: The Bodily Man. Body expelled, and body acquired


The lecture explores the diverse approaches to understanding the body in different cultures.

The Ancient Greeks considered a person’s appearance inextricably linked to their internal qualities, leading to a specific cult of the body in Ancient Greek culture. But as early as Socrates, the body was understood as an obstacle to contemplation. In Christianity, the body is regarded as something sinful and, as such, opposite to the sublime nature of the soul. Contemporary culture pays a lot of attention to the imaginary and illusory, to something that is losing connection with reality. That’s why philosophy turns to the notions of body and physicality so often, trying to discover a support, a kind of a horizon of experience which preexists any thinking. Physicality seems to become a guarantor of authenticity of the perception of the world.

“There is likely to be something such as a path to guide us out of our confusion, because as long as we have a body and our soul is fused with such an evil we shall never adequately attain what we desire, we affirm to be the truth. The body keeps us busy in a thousand ways because of its need for nurture. Moreover, if certain diseases befall it, they impede our search for the truth. It fills us with wants, desires, fears, all sorts of illusions and much nonsense, so that, as it is said, in truth and in fact no thought of any kind ever comes to us from the body. Only the body and its desires cause war, civil discord and battles… and all this makes us too busy to practice philosophy.”

(Plato. Phaedo)


Andrey Velikanov is a philosopher, art theorist, and artist. His publications on art and cultural theory include Am I a Trembling Simulacrum, or Do I Have the Right? (NLO, 2007). He has taught at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian State University for the Humanities, UNIC Institute, Wordshop Communications Academy, Moscow 1905 Art Academy, MediaArtLab Open School, Center of Avant-Garde at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, and Free Workshops Art School, and regularly gives talks and takes part in discussions at various venues. He is also a recipient of several media art awards and prizes including Ostranenie (Germany), DADANET (Russia), Art on the Net (Japan), TrashArt (Russia), Southwest Interactive Festival (U.S.A.), and Split (Croatia).


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