camille lacadee

(beau)strosity & bodysorder

text published in Burrasca issue 4 fat/anorexic 



To hold, to protect, to constrain, imprison, embrace, shield, hold tight, to nest, suffocate, to confine, to nestle … To make shelter as a primal drive, a feral instinct yet bringing a delicate paradox, a dilemma, sometimes violent ambiguity.

​An interface is surely defined by conflicting forces. The boundary between protection and suffocation appears blurrily; while never simultaneous they are in co-dependency, as an alternation of urges feeding one another and appearing ultimately to be discordant offspring of a unique origin …
There is a basic need for nurturing our first envelope, and further away, clothing, shelters, buildings, cities, as so many straitjackets around something about us, something about our bodies [1]. Our skin forms, takes shape in conformity to what it contains, to our organs and internal apparatuses. Until the end of our body and a beginning of non-body.
The body limit becomes pertinent with the holes allowing for its permeability … at the skin level but also very macro-pragmatically, bluntly, at the idea of orifices. The mouth, the ears, the nose, the sex, the asshole. These holes negotiate a passage. The body receives orders and the figure must be kept in order.


The body defines itself through local scheduled deformations, little trespassing, infractions, by foods, liquids, gazes, traveling through and exiting from each-other orifices. What we absorb, what we ingurgitate, what we swallow, the air we breathe, all these infractions constantly redefine the limits of our bodies and our conception of its wholeness.
I consider the hypothesis that fatness, obesity, could be a way to expand the body-territory, fighting its claustrophobia, pushing further away these zones of infraction, deforming the perception of organs and bones, taking a distance from the visibility and impetus of body functions, by accumulating unnecessary, excessive surpluses, making the misshapen … the monstrous.


In (beau)strosity [2], the monster baby-boy, overfed by his mother in an extra-uterine device, straightjacket exoskeleton of black laser-cut paper bones, expands its body-territory ; the shelter grows with him, while he becomes immobile, weighted, stagnant, petrified matter. His mother, softly torn between guilt and suffocated love, stuffs him fresh fish flesh through the mouth, stories through the ear. The condemnation of forbidden desires, the repression, grows into physical obstacles, constraints, interlocked self-repression, as the motive mechanism of their relationship. It feels monstrous, as each offspring of repressed emotion, a counterweight for guilt, it feels dirty …
When looking online for monster’s definition I find: “something (such as a building) that is very large and ugly” [3] and further down, “a malformation, something deviating from the normal, an object of often frightening size, force or complexity, an excessively bad or shocking example.”
Etymologically monster comes from monstrare: to show, to demonstrate, and monstrum: ‘a sign, a divine omen  …’. A monster was a message from god. Monstrare itself comes from the root monere, to warn, to advise, which also gave birth to premonitiondemonstrate, and money. A monster was first a sign or an instruction, trying to warn us about some kind of evil. [4]


The origins of the word monster are filled with fear, driven by a delusive quest for enlightenment over the banality of death, a pretense to escape from life and its miserable fascist impetus to self-preserve.
The boy and his mother are engaged in a repressed oedipal setting [5], where the father is absent or re/mis/placed by sheltering confinement and over-feeding. While this is extremely commonplace, the very making-up of these torturous physic/physio/psycho/logic/al mechanisms and apparatuses is tinted with symptomatic beauty. The body-shelter pathology is both an attempt to fight and surrender to the world’s order, to its repression through condemnation and policing [6], and the fatty-baby-boy drifts into a psycho-computing-animal which defi(n)es its situation and condition of living simultaneously to the shelter’s emergence, in co-dependency …
The ‘architecture’ in our #mythomaniaS series is not meant to liberate but to betray something about us, bespeaking a kind of self-monstrification, leaving us half-consciously confined while driving our daily emissions in the disclosure of a love&hate surrender&resist enacted struggle with and against these traps.

[1] “Body am I, and soul”—thus speaks the child. … But the awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
[2] (beau)strosity / 2013 / Chakkrawat, Bangkok, Thailand / pathology: claustrophilic bulimia nervosa / prop: 200 laser-cut resin paper components / film credits – producer(s):  New-Territories (Francois Roche, Camille Lacadée) + RMIT (Gwyllim Jahn) / on-set director : Anastasiya Vitusevych / writer(s) : Dan Schulz, Eleanor Tullock / cast : Ad +Chanja / cinematography : Lila Athanasiadou / set director(s): Ada Umgofia, Crystal Song Choo Jing, Dan Schulz, Eleanor Tullock, Loo Yew Hann, Sam Verschoren, Vivian Kon Ching Sian / sound director : Loo Yew Hann / casting director : Tree / security : Crystal Song Choo Jing / blood effect : Eleanor Tullock


[4] This benign interpretation was proposed by Saint Augustine, who did not see the monster as inherently evil, but as part of the natural design of the world, a kind-of deliberate category error.
[5] “If desire is repressed, it is because every position of desire, no matter how small, is capable of calling into question the established order of a society: not that desire is asocial, on the contrary. But it is explosive; there is no desiring-machine capable of being assembled without demolishing entire social sectors. Despite what some revolutionaries think about this, desire is revolutionary in its essence — desire, not left-wing holidays! — and no society can tolerate a position of real desire without its structures of exploitation, servitude, and hierarchy being compromised.”  Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (1972, 126-127)
[6] “It is in one and the same movement that the repressive social production is replaced by the repressing family, and that the latter offers a displaced image of desiring-production that represents the repressed as incestuous familial drives.” Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (1972, 130).