Chiara Scarlato

Panel 5C: Performance, Dance and Theatricality
Session 5 – July 3, 11:00 – 13:00

Re-tracing the Body, Re-mediating the Space. Notes on 3x3x6 by Shu Lea Cheang

Through a multi-layered pattern, 3x3x6 by Shu Lea Cheang – the Taiwan Exhibition organized by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum at the Biennale Arte 2019 – explores issues related both to the mechanisms of surveillance in contemporary society and the fluidification of gender conventions. In this respect, the access itself to the exhibition acts as an active engagement with the visitor who agrees to be recorded and to become part of the artwork itself, as each visitor’s face is collected and subsequently modified to be reproduced in the exhibition.

The rooms of Palazzo delle Prigioni in Venice become a real space where bodies are openly controlled and monitored, even if it is impossible to determine their individual features, i.e. gender and race. This first operation in which the bodies’ images are remediated in a hybrid, virtual, and neutral dimension, interacts with a new elaboration of the Panopticon, the ideal prison projected by Jeremy Bentham in 1786 and extensively analysed by Michel Foucault in his Discipline and Punish (1975). Shu Lea Cheang adopts this model to represent the dichotomy between being controlled by and controlling the others. Moreover, the path across the ten monitors with 4K films about – real and/or false – crimes variously related to sex from the eighteenth century to recent times constitutes an occasion to reflect on the normativity of the bodies which inevitably involves linguistic processes of signification.

Assuming 3x3x6 as case study, I will provide an account of re-mediation, transcodification and intermediality trying to answer to the following questions: what is the role of the body in the re-mediated space of the exhibition? How does the visitor activate the process of transcodification of the stories? Which kind of intermediality is triggered by the double practice of being-controlled and being-controlling?


Chiara Scarlato is a post-doctoral fellow in Theoretical Philosophy at the “G. d’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara. She is the author of “Attraverso il corpo. Filosofia e letteratura in David Foster Wallace” (2020), along with essays concerning themes and issues of Aesthetics and Philosophy of literature.