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Cinematic Representations of the Grotesque Female Body

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Technological transformation and the female body

Research conducted by the EU-funded 'Cinematic representations of the grotesque female body ' (Grotesque BODY) project delved into how aesthetic technological transformation and social change interrelate. As a result, the societal impact of perception and representation can be viewed through a new lens.

Climate Change and Environment

Modern science and technology has made its way into the human body, literally by altering the outside from within. Well known examples include in vitro fertilisation, cosmetic surgery and genetic engineering. One consideration as a result of such excessive bodily fragmentation is that perceptions of the female body have been altered and transformed and, in turn, these grotesque body representations are appearing in art cinema and Hollywood films. This is not a new notion; grotesque realism is a literary mode first generated by Mikhail Bakhtin (1895–1975), a Russian literary critic in his study of the French Renaissance writer Francois Rabelois. The essential principle is that what is noble, ideal and organic is degraded to the material and mechanistic level which bears not only on the individual but reflects collectively on society. The Grotesque BODY project stemmed its research through the extension of Bakhtin’s argument focusing on cinematic representations of the grotesque female body. Films were selected for a comparative analysis blending anthropology with semiotics taking feminist theory to new heights through the fields of film studies and cultural studies. Research results have been presented at four conferences and symposia and a monograph on cinematic representations of the grotesque body has been published. Additionally, an English language monograph on cinematic representations of the grotesque body has been accepted for publication, providing a gender-sensitive deconstructive approach of the analysis which can serve to reach the broader community.

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