Meg R. Jackson

The Running Body: From Cultural Motif to Critical Methodology

The basic, universal movement of the running body has been repeated and made visible in aesthetic, scientific, and political debates. Such debates of the body may depend on live movements in real space-time, movements articulated in media, or movements that exercise in imagination: a head of state who uses the running body to manipulate his political subject, for example, or a series of photographs that simultaneously represents and dissects muscles in their swiftest motions, or a sound installation that voices the familiar dynamics of running steps and heavy breathing. In each instance, the bodily practice of running is extracted from its seemingly unmediated everyday, placed instead within aesthetic methodologies and technologies to scrutinize the movement and its complex of meanings. This action is meant to reveal that real experience—that nonfictional movement, as it were—of the body running, to see into the rhetorical, cultural productions of our public, bodily realities.

Meg R. Jackson is a sixth-year PhD candidate in Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Arizona. Jackson received her BA in History from the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2006; an MA in Modern European History from the University of Tennessee in 2009; and an MA from Georgetown University in 2010, while dually enrolled in the Art and Business program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Jackson, recipient of the DAAD Research Grant in 2013-2014 and the New York Public Library Research Fellowship in 2015, has presented at a number of national and international academic conferences, and will have her essay entitled “Run: The Poetic Use of the Moving Body in Contemporary Time-Based Practices” published in the upcoming volume Sehen in Bewegung. Her dissertation project, “Running Bodies: Contemporary Art’s Histories”, explores images of the accelerated human body since modernity and the role of movement in contemporary history- and art-making.

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