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Care and Wear:
Bodies built for harm and healing
The human body is rarely crafted without intent. In many cases, bodies are manufactured as surrogates, stand-ins for human experiences more challenging to embody in the flesh. Regardless of visual accuracy, we are encouraged to engage with these forms as though they were real.
This exhibit looks at two key roles played by the crafted body: care and wear. From a young age, we are guided into gentle handling of humans through dolls and anthropomorphic playthings. Professional practices and procedures take place on mannequins as training for more genuine extensions of medical and therapeutic comfort.
While some bodies are used as tools for healing, others are designed as objects to be degraded. Crash test dummies, for example, allow us to measure trauma past limits that real humans can sustain. Carnival targets and pinatas provide us with emotional and physical vents, while grappling dummies help hone our own bodies to become destructive tools. These figures simultaneously sharpen and dull emotions surrounding the infliction of bodily harm. As surrogates for our experiences, crafted bodies take on tragic and sympathetic character through their wear, shaped by both extremes of human behaviour.
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