Alex Fine received a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Comparative American Studies with coursework in Classics and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She completed the yearlong Institute for Civic Leadership Program at Mills College and was awarded a grant to pursue independent research on art as means of social justice inclusion. Alex has worked with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Exploratorium, Creativity Explored, Intersection for the Arts, and Sins Invalid. In the past two years, she has spoken at the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee on the theme of failure in 2013 and on animacy in 2014, and at the “Undisciplining Science” conference hosted by the Queer, Feminist, and Transgender Research Cluster at the University of California, Davis. In fall 2014, Alex will begin her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her dissertation will explore identity and affect to consider representations of healing and rehabilitation at the intersection of scientific and spiritualist discourses. Contact at email@example.com
Screening the Body/Screening the Soul: Aura Photography as Biometrics of the New Age
In Screening the Body/Screening the Soul: Aura Photography as Biometrics of the New Age, I explore the visualization technology of contemporary aura photography. Aura photography visualizes the aura, an electro-magnetic field surrounding the body, as means to assess and diagnose a person for purposes of healing. Aura photography exemplifies the rhetorics of alternative spirituality’s New Age, a fusion of spiritualism and science. I reframe aura photography as biometrics, a visualization technology, which scans the subject to authenticate and verify identity. Using a Foucauldian genealogical method, I investigate the dispersed and non-linear histories that constitute aura photography, arguing that its reliance upon body scans reminiscent of eugenicist imaging perpetuates a visual culture aimed at surveillance and the discipline of subjects. I question New Age discourses of healing, asking if their reparative rubrics may be reproducing discourses of pathology as much as discourses for spiritual well-being.