body mapping--
anatomy of the word/link

a journal by josh conterio

I can always give myself a funny feeling by picturing what my skeleton is doing. It startles me that I have a skeleton at all. Skeletons are another species, it seems to me, beings of a drily humorous sort, antic fellows who can't keep track of all their parts. They are whole unto themselves.

As a matter of fact, I am making a replica of this text: a huge wooden chest in the shape of my body, with innumerable drawers in which I will store my findings. Some of the drawers will be large and c a p a c i o u s, some smaller than matchboxes. Some will be disguised, some will be booby-trapped. I will hide secret buttons, levers and locks in my carved folds and crevices. You will have to feel your way in.

Start with a body. Flesh it out, segment it, sew it back together. Make it tell a story. But the body has no end, no beginning --a M–bius strip. A familiar roadmap, perhaps, yet difficult to complete; it lacks finality above its unity. So is it a group of interrelated stories, or a literary mood? Is it THE body, or MY body?

MY BODY: what direction is it aiming for, what is Jackson attempting / succeeding at? Should it be interpreted as A or ANY body mapping, or her specific (I hate to say virtual) flesh on display? Yes, it is a convenient, familiar structure to hang life stories on, a cabinet useful in compartmentalizing the mind. But it is also a circular argument, with no real place to start, no good place to end. Should we see it as a structure which stands alone for its own purpose?

I see the inherent body imagery in the way she utilizes the links --a certain passage may be linked to a body part if only because of some vague (but poignant) body parallel.

I am a horrible hypertext reader, I can't just follow a link. Sometimes I return to the main menu instead of leaving my choice up to complete chance; I have to go back to the beginning to get my bearings, relearn the hierarchical structure. With THE BODY this personal problem is less apparent since I know that everything is circular --is this an intentional strength of the author? Otherwise chaos takes over; does one follow the first link one sees, forgetting the others? Should one wait a bit, read on further (and if so how far?) just to make sure that the first link is the "best" link? There isn't enough time in life to keep on backtracking --am I just obsessive? It's all a cheat since I can see where a link leads, what body part it goes to (and if I've seen it before), but without this information I'd fear losing myself.

A cadaver or a beast? A dead end, the animated tissue and bone of the long decomposed? Since this being is a Frankenstein monster, one can never be sure. Will a link lead through an empty alleyway into a walled garden, or to a racetrack spinning laps? As a chimera this creature is many things at once, mapped but mythical.

Exploration of the body --this is a real examination. Virtually touching every inch with a little cursor hand. My kinky little mouse-hand clicks on her crotch, drills through her forehead to the brain. There is something to be said about virtual molestation by strangers. Jackson is certainly unbound by and comfortable with her anatomy.

Odd that one word will loop back on itself. Durer passes from page to page, uniting the two with one identifier. But the word itself now means little. It is symbol, a mnemonic construction for remembering a path.

And what of links that link to the current page? Strange academic / symbolic guestures, an odd mapping. Signifying meaning, connection, but with no physical value.

My lower lip is pierced by a labret with a flat head, which looks like a small nail through my lip. The hole is slightly to the right of what my nerves tell me is the center of my lip, and this fraction of a millimeter is enough to make me slightly edgy when I think about it.

There is an odd lack of symmetry, even with the augmented. The body is an imperfect organism, though few would not find beauty in this fact. Roads are never as well planned as we would like; why should the body-map conform to perfect alignment? There is individuality (perspective) ingrained in our physical form. It is therefore a perfect vessel to carry our memories.

Phantom limbs: a nice metaphor for...what? For those items she cannot quite link, detatched ideas? For what we could have been? For simulation, like tattoos and a tail? To experience a phantom sensation in a limb gone missing is quite different from feeling an arm or a leg which you do not have the anatomy to support. Odd, too, that THE BODY map is not complete on the outside (try to get to the teeth, but hit lips instead). Certain internal areas are also cut off from the human frame: we cannot see the back, but we can get there; internal organs can only be reached be special, intimate routes. OTHER BODIES are also seen in relation to the main body --no other connection (link) exists. As a result I had great difficulty in getting to where I wanted to go, but my navigation was intentionally controlled. The body is a mysterious creature. I am therefore intent on beating this monster, on exploring every inch to uncover any hidden gems.


I thought a real artist ought to be able to render every view her eyes framed between waking and sleeping. If she had time outside time to paint her day, she could make something like a film, each frame a canvas. How could I be expected to draw things the way they really looked if in any given moment things looked, not one way, but two?


THE BODY is a perspective piece, a very human view of the world. As a hypertext entity it gains the spiritual sactum of the physical form, a sacred layout. With such a layout comes certain ambiguities, human mysteries (I don't mean to sound too metaphysical, I merely wish to emphasize the body's hidden mechanics). It is a natural machine blue print, the text itself a series of tattoos.

Discussion of Patchwork Girl Overview Screen for Website Body and Self