Modern Angels: Exploring Transdermal Body Art and Body Modification as Transformative Practice and Political Resistance

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


In 2000, I produced a short documentary work called Modern Angels which explored the “body art” scene in Belgium at that period.

Body art is an ancient practice. Some 5300 years ago, in the Late Neolithic period, the "Iceman" (as he is called) was tattooed with stripes, lines, and cross shapes on his back, knees, feet, and hands. For the limited period humans have inhabited the earth, body art has been widespread and normative. So how can it be that body art was until recently commonly regarded with disdain in Western cultures and what relationship did body art play in the art movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteen centuries through to present day? More importantly, what is at the core of body art as a transformative practice, what significance do these practices play in both individual and collective forms of esoteric knowledge/power and how might answering these questions help inform current scholarly debates around such issues?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrans-States: The Art of Crossing Over
EditorsCavan McLaughlin
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherFulgur Press
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2019
EventTrans-States: The Art of Revelation - University of Northampton, Northampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Sep 201914 Sep 2019


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Bibliographical note

This version does not contain the images inserted by the publisher


  • Documentary
  • DIY video
  • body art
  • Body Hanging
  • body manipulation
  • Body Piercing
  • body
  • All Tribe
  • Belgium


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  • Trans-States

    Roy Wallace (Participant)

    13 Sep 201914 Sep 2019

    Activity: Organising a conference or workshopResearch

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