The objective of this series was to explore the kangaroo skull visually, and subsequently to use my exploration of its visual form – the shapes, planes, tones, and lines that make the skull identifiable as such – as a vehicle for exploration of the skull’s roles/functions and how they are revealed through the skull’s appearance, reflecting my interest in it as a scientific object.
My treatment of the skull as part of a larger whole, with the absent rest of that ‘whole’ (the full body of a kangaroo) being equally as important as the present skull, was an idea borrowed from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s essay ‘November 28, 1947: How Do You Make Yourself A Body Without Organs?’. Deleuze and Guattari entertain Antonin Artaud and William S. Burroughs’ lamentations of the body: that it is ‘scandalously inefficient,’ flawed, variously ‘hypochondriac,’ ‘paranoid,’ ‘schizo,’ ‘drugged,’ or ‘masochist,’ and never truly successful. As such, Deleuze and Guattari suggest that a beneficial process of self-exploration is to ‘dismantle the self,’ to discover the ‘body without organs’ by rejecting the typically ‘stratified’ body. By imaging the skull on a large scale, gradually, I explored it both as a series of independent parts, and as its own whole ‘body’. This process prompted me to reflect upon concepts of totality, and of the different ways in which parts become one: as planes atop each other, or fitted together like puzzle pieces, etc., informed by Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of those phenomena in their introduction to A Thousand Plateaus.