Bodybuilding ~ Joachim Ladefoged ‘Mirror’
Bodybuilding was my hobby for seven years.
More than a hobby, it was a lifestyle which largely dictated (and still does) the structure of my day-to-day-living. The only thing which has changed is that I now only use bodyweight training and I have reconsidered my previous inclinations toward purely aesthetic goals.
I wrote about bodybuilding throughout University and it became the subject of my dissertation. A key argument was that the desire to build the human body expressed control over and the reaffirmation of our corporeal existence, a visceral body lost in the myriad of language we utilize to define our selves, our world, and our existence.
Professional bodybuilding can no longer be expressed as the mere affirmation of a masculine ideal as such image extremes become ultimately de-gendered, particularly when presented with the image of the female bodybuilder: gender becomes a celebrated masquerade, simultaneously revealing and concealing its very constructivity and thus innate (potentially unlimited) malleability.
If it is an expression of ‘insecurity’, it is not one unique to bodybuilding but the scream of every human being suffering from disillusion and collapse of the Cartesian ideal “I think therefore I am”. Under the norms of today’s Western societies, we can more accurately posit:
“I think where I am not, therefore I am where I think not.”
The body is the real, the locus; the dumbed I.
I found Joachim Ladefoged’s photography collection (2008) of the same name particularly useful in exploring this thesis yet only recently came across this short film. It maintains the effect of eerie intrigue with its alien, often disturbing, potentially abhorrent imagery.