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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II

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and film also tell us this—remains firmly integrated into the logic of the ‹freak show›: According to this logic, the ‹horrendous›—the mixture of fascination and horror that distinguishes every deviation from the norm—can be put on display and looked at with a pleasant shudder; in the end, however, it always remains or becomes banished. At least this is what is reflected in those tales that, after the creation of an ‹artificial human,› focus on its persecution and destruction.

In contrast, as works by Stelarc and Orlan appear to postulate in a radical way, could the identification with the monster's position harbor promises for the future? What would this mean for all of those—unlike Stelarc, Orlan and the protagonists of «Gendernauts»—who are not willing to transform their own bodies into figures of transgression?

The central role that masks and masquerades play in our culture to this very day verifies that the playful identification with figures of deviance has always been part of the temptations of ‹monstrous promises.› Traditionally, however, they have had a stabilizing function. This indirectly becomes apparent in the cult


surrounding a film such as the «Rocky Horror Picture Show,» where groups of well-behaved citizens put on costumes for an evening at the cinema, and under the premise of a carnivalesque masquerade slip into the role of Frank'n'Furter—who in the end, however, is punished in a quite conventional way for his hybrid as a transsexual creator. Under the premise of the masquerade as well, a subversive potential can only be released if this is bound to the understanding that there is no ‹true face› to discover behind the mask—or in this case: no ‹true gender.› Interesting here is the question of which experiences the people who play Frank'n'Furter, Janet or Rocky take with them into their everyday lives—and whether these experiences alter their perception, their thinking, their behavior, and finally also the roles they play in their everyday lives. [38] At any rate, the keywords ‹role play› and ‹masquerade› appear to point in a direction that also could be made productive for the question regarding possible moments of subversion of the premise of a coherence of body gender, sexuality, gender identity and gender role, and their integration into the traditional, dichotomous gender hierarchy. And namely

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