There does not seem to be a good relationship between bondage practice and bodies with asymmetries – and being a disabled person myself with an significant disability on my right leg and right foot – I could not avoid challenging one of the most popular images ever that references human proportions.
Basically what Amae has done so far is taken a picture capturing a bondage session on a disabled body in the attempt to tease out some thoughts which might help us to keep developing our practice. Eventually we used this photograph as a piece of paper on which to sketch parts of the essays and we also tried to bring out a third geometrical shape to add to the previous two made by Leonardo. The new shape considers the relationship between bondage (the nails drilled into the floor create points which give us corners and lines) and the performer’s body. Obviously new shapes could be found here if we did the same with another kind of asymmetry. So there is a shape for each of us. Nature is disinterested this.
Amae’s Vitruvian man called “Queer Diagonals” is not created as an attempt to change the model of representation of bondage practice and disabled bodies but just to say that bondage practice and disability should be represented differently – not as an exception, but as part of the spectrum of what is considered within the tolerance of ‘normal’.
The Vitruvian man by Leonardo is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture. Vitruvius determined that the ideal body should be eight heads high. Leonardo’s drawing is traditionally named in honor of the architect.
As birds and bees built their nests, so humans constructed housing from natural materials, that gave them shelter against the elements. When perfecting this art of building, the Greeks invented the architectural orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. It gave them a sense of proportion, culminating in understanding the proportions of the greatest work of art: the human body. This led Vitruvius in defining his Vitruvian Man.