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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II
La Réincarnation de Sainte Orlan (Orlan), 1990

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is no longer the state of being immersed in genetic memory but rather in being reconfigured in the electromagnetic field of the circuit—IN THE REALM OF THE IMAGE.» [16]

A radical subordination to images that are superior to real bodies also marks the starting point of the long-term project with which in 1990 the French artist Orlan began her work complex «The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan.» Very much like the legendary painter Apelles, who reproduced only the most beautiful parts of his models' bodies in order to achieve the depiction on canvas of a woman of perfect beauty, Orlan takes familiar portraits of femininity from art history and puts them together on the computer to make an ideal portrait. [17] This epitome of idealized art-femininity consequently serves as a model for the redesigning of the artist's own face with the aid of a series of cosmetic operations. At first glance, in doing so she hardly differs from those women and men who have been operated on to change the size of their breasts or the shape of their nose to correspond with ‹their own› ideas of beauty, for which as a rule they also have specific models. The informatization and


particularization of the body, which Haraway points out as being characteristic of cyborgization, [18] has caused these kinds of operations to become increasingly common. In her ‹pupation,›--or better ‹dollification›--Cindy Jackson, who step-by-step has redesigned her face and her body to emulate a Barbie doll, does not consider herself a victim of patriarchal standards of physical beauty. Rather she claims with self-confidence: «This is the ultimate feminist statement. I refuse to let nature decide my fate just because I missed out on the genetic lottery.» [19]

Orlan's artistic credo sounds very similar: «My body is my software.» [20] In fact, in «The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan» one can discern a consistent continuation of her early feminist performances—an «ultimate feminism» which, however, has a different emphasis than that claimed by Cindy Jackson. She not only proceeds in a much more radical way than Jackson in the media marketing of her cyborgization by staging her operations as performances, recording them on video and offering them for sale on the art market. She also regards the photographs that show her before and after the operations and document the gradual

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