Soma is the third part of a series of poetic-scientific performances that unravel the mysterious world(s) we live in. It zooms in on the familiar yet strangely unknown microcosm of the human body. It’s the “icing on the cake of creation”, but do we really know what is going on behind the bruised and scarred surface of our skin? In this humorous semi-scientific lecture the inner functioning of the body is exposed in its absurd beauty, all the way from the bacteria, nerves and organs to the ungraspable world of the psyche.
Taking the body as a metaphor for society and its relation to death and self-improvement, Libens poetically attempts to describe what it means to be human. By fusing historical conceptions and contemporary visions about the body – ranging from the medieval vanitas tradition of the dance macabre to sci-fi transhumanist ideas that consider the body to be obsolete and dream of overcoming all its diseases and even its mortality – this show questions the value of the body in a society that is increasingly dominated by intangible digital information and cold, hard machines. The screen that is used to project images onto can be seen as the intimate skin of our bodies, but also as the display of our phones and computers, always putting a detaching interface between ourselves and the world.

SOMA was made in 2018-2019 in collaboration with Nina de Vroome, Charlotte de Somviele and Maria Lundholm. Narrator: Dr Bodham. Music: Simon Halsberghe, Alexander Lindström, Oona Libens. It is coproduced by workspacebrussels and Het Bos, Antwerpen. It received support from the Swedish Arts Council (Konstnärsnämnden), Malmö Stad and the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), C-takt and Inter Arts Centre Malmö. Thanks to Sarah Oyserman, Emmily Dhaene and Royal Museums for Art and History Brussels.