A world by bodies conjured
editor’s note by Eleni Kotsira
A sea of bodies on Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal on New Year’s Eve engulfs mine. There are no boundaries all of a sudden, and I lose the sense of me. Everything is fluid but my desperate need to demarcate what is mine, what is me. My muscles stiffen and the body I am becomes heavier, harder to carry, standing out unreconciled and immobile, the flow of the crowd fleetingly interrupted…
How aware are we of our bodies? Do we feel our bodies, and at all times? Or are they a given, an uncontested condition of existence? And what happens when our undeniable ‘ownership’ of the body is challenged, be it externally by other bodies or internally by elements to us unseen? Do we then become increasingly aware of our bodies and ourselves, vigilant, maybe even defiant?
Our bodies occupy spaces, they move across them, physically and projectionally. In doing so, they drift other bodies, intentionally and not. In doing so, they are drifted by other bodies, willingly or not.
Our bodies draw directions, matching or falling short of their intentions, because in their intentions bodies can aspire to transcend what is feasible. Our bodies know limits, and as such they know what they cannot and will not be. Our bodies have known pain; they have known not wanting to be.
Our bodies bear life and bring ruin; ruin of themselves and ruin to others. Our bodies are damaged, over time and beyond their control. Our bodies are replaceable, the void in the space left behind eventually to be occupied by bodies following. The lives breathed out to be otherwise restarted.
We are treated as bodies when we do not want to be seen just as bodies, and when our bodies are maltreated we are each and every inch of a body rising against the world. Me and my body, or the body of me, against the word; a world tangible by bodies only, a world by bodies conjured.
Our bodies craft desires and by desires are craved; space is redrafted and expanded by senses, perception remastered. Our bodies seduce and are seduced, attuned or simply attentive to others.
Our bodies escape words, and yet in words are to be found. A body is more than its image, but when pictured a body defies change.
This issue celebrates bodies; in their imperfect shape and finite nature. Bodies filling space, or struggling to situate themselves in it. Bodies defining times and by time bound. The contributors to this issue, to rephrase Walt Whitman, bring attention back to the parts and poems of the body, hinting that ‘if the body were not the soul, [then] what is the soul?’