This thesis makes a contribution to the spatio-analysis of contemporary cultures that
creatively and reflexively experiment with the surface of the body. Drawing upon the
philosophical work of Henri Lefebvre, The Savage Body provides an exploration of
representational space. Lefebvre considered this element of social relations to be
clandestine and transgressive, relating to the aesthetic sphere of symbols and codes. For Lefebvre, these spaces were lived through associated imagery, embracing passion,
pleasure and dismay.
This thesis provides an exploration of two distinct, yet related representational spaces.
The Fetish Scene is a culture that has a more bounded sense of symbolic community
and dwells within the night-time sexual economy of club land. In comparison, the
Pierced Body is a more fragmented sphere, scattered and located within a diverse
cultural landscape. Though separate cultures, these two spaces overlap in the Torture
Garden, a night-club on the periphery and cutting edge of the fetish scene. It is within
this realm that the fetish people and pierced bodies meet to celebrate the pleasures of
the flesh. This work explores the way these cultural sites are produced through the
creativity of those involved and the subjective relation to representational space. The
body is considered as actively weaving its way through landscapes which both mark
and leave their mark on those engaging in these spheres.
Beyond mapping out the cultures of the Fetish Scene and the Pierced Body on a descriptive and
broad level, I also consider identity as reflexively situated within
representational space and the way that memory plays an active part in constructing
narratives that operate on an individual and broader cultural level. Developing the idea of a 'haptic ethnography', drawing upon a variety of methods, I have used and documented my own body as a means of exploring these rhythmic realms, speaking
with the Other instead of for the Other.