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On Being Imperceptible

On the other side of the Gales galley, a moving image-image sculpture comprises a black object, monitor, and a mirror. The monitor showed a moving-image work titled Möbius, with a duration of eighteen minutes in a loop.

 

In Volatile Bodies, Elizabeth Grosz discusses the metaphor of the Möbius strip (a flattened strip of paper that is twisted into the shape of a figure eight and joined so that there is no end or beginning), indicating that bodies are constituted through cultural and linguistic forces that move from the outside in and from the inside out.42 Grosz conceives of subjectivity as a modality that shifts continuously from interiority to exteriority, like the surface of a Möbius strip. Grosz uses the metaphor of the Möbius strip to argue that the body is a historical and cultural product that is produced by the interaction of physical and psychical, or exterior and interior inscriptions. She elaborates that what is “inscribed” on the inside surface of the body are pleasures, sensations, and experiences; and what is inscribed on the outside are more to do with requirement, social imperative, custom, and corporeal habits” (Ibid., 117).

If we imagine the body with the Möbius strip metaphor, it doesn’t matter from which point or in what direction that movement begins. A movement that begins in a certain position can continue to move in a different direction without being fully aware of the different sections of the figure eight shape. Movement, then, is in continuation, without an arrival at any critical point or the will to force a chosen direction or pause. While Grosz’s metaphor inspired me, Möbius was further informed by my experience of crossing borders during my research process. Reflecting on my travels to Israel and Morocco, I have been exploring the edges and boundaries of space and the body, where the inner and outer exist in an ambivalent, liminal relationship that leads me to possibilities for rethinking embodied subjectivity.