I have a vivid memory of looking through a wildlife field guide as a child and admiring the skulls of whales, bears, deer, shocked they could be of the same substance and yet come in so many shapes and sizes. Those field guides and my stack of encyclopedias were my pride and joy. My artistic and naturalist inspiration often fed and bred from the nourishment of my reference books.
Such satisfaction was gained from learning on my own but unfortunately I struggled in the school system, even in elementary school. One day when I was around six, I joined a family friend for their homeschooled high school biology class in cow dissection. While I watched with no pressure to perform or expectations, I wondered how these diverse parts and pieces make up a whole and why it all works so perfectly. With the time to actually think I learnt more than perhaps all of my early schooling.
Bodies are art, we’ve decided as much as a collective species. If we’re interested at all in art history and dadaism, maybe we ask ‘what is art?’ and complicate the equation. I enjoy complication but only if I get a say in it— and here are the thoughts I said to myself of the architecture of bodies:
Why do I find every body of every creature wonderful, but not my own?
How are so many bodily tissues porous, able to have substance pass through, yet our skin holds every soft and wet inside?
How does the organ named skin interact with our mind? Could I learn more? (I could)
What is a brain? Is it why skulls are so fascinating, strange, different from all other bones? Is it why it also contains our face?
What does it mean to be built of different parts?
Science, art, religion, they are the same like the skulls of many species are still the same. The substance remains the near, if not exactly, identical. The body is a petri dish, a sculpture, a temple, all are true and don’t contradict each other. The earlier we learn how to reconcile or at least appreciate the gradient of difference and similarity, the quicker we are to accept the confusing nature of reality. Nature is the ultimate teacher.