De rouille et d'os: Rethinking the body and the body of film

Ymke Kelders
2015 Considering Disability Journal  
This paper examines the subject and object not as separate things, but as having an intra-active relation. Taking this term from Karen Barad, this paper takes on a different understanding of agency that might change the way agency and disability relate. Through a thorough analysis of the film De Rouille et D'os, these ideas are touched upon whilst discussing the problematic of representation. This paper argues for the impossibility to distinguish between a medium, image and body that allows for
more » ... an object to move, act. This approach to objects might be productive for the discourse on disability regarding prostheses to "enhance" one's mobility. The use of prosthesis will be inquired simultaneously with how to think of another person as prosthesis. 2 De rouille et d'os: Rethinking the body and the body of film To take a film as an object inquiry while avoiding a discussion of representation forces us to rethink the boundaries between subject and object, observer and observed. While these boundaries often suggest the distinction between subject and object, observer and observed, this paper sees them as separate entities that do not exactly entail a relation of absolute exteriority, but rather illustrates an enactment of boundaries that seem to be given. As Karen Barad writes, these boundaries are a contingent fact of history, and a Cartesian habit of mind, for we have granted language and discourse too much power (2007:806). Like Karen Barad, new materialists have been working on a robust account of the materialization of all bodies -human and nonhuman -and the materialdiscursive practices by which their differential constitutions are marked (810). Drawing further upon these (new) theories on bodies, this paper deals with the seemingly impossibility but yet urgency for a different understanding of human and nonhuman, subject and object and observer and observed, while taken disability as a central issue. An often discussed theme within Disability Studies is the way technologies can be seen as technical aids to enhance people with disabilities. Think of the way a prosthetic leg can help someone walk (again), or a perhaps more discrete aid: glasses and lenses to improve visual impairment. Different disability scholars try to not see these immaterial aids as attachments to a body, but as something that becomes part of the subject. One of the most well-known books that discusses the relationship between technology and the human body is Donna Haraway's A Manifesto for Cyborgs (1991). Donna Haraway distinguishes herself from essentialism and naturalism approaching subjects in their ongoing becoming (83). This influential manifest complicates the separation of body and object and sees a prosthesis, for example, as a part of the subject. This
doi:10.17774/cdj12015.1.2057584 fatcat:ttt2qiygzjgyhhomawxqb2iewu