Life (Corps sans Organes) No. 5

Tatsuo Miyajima, Japanese, born 1957



L.E.D., IC, microcomputer by Ikegami program, steel, plastic cover, passive sensor, electric wire, LED type; Life D-R(3), Life D-BL(2), Life D-W(0), Life D-PG(1), Life G-R(4), Life G-BL(1), Life G-W(5), Life G-PG(0)

Overall: 62 1/4 × 51 3/8 × 4 5/16 in. (158.1 × 130.5 × 11 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through a gift from Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H, by exchange

© Tatsuo Miyajima



Place Made: Japan, East Asia, Asia


21st century

Object Name


Research Area

Time Based Media

Not on view


This work’s “living” system is composed of digital light-emitting-diode (LED) counters that Miyajima calls “gadgets.” Arranged randomly like the letters in a word search, the disconnected pieces are strung together by wires. Continuous flashes move from 1 to 9, but not sequentially, to signal the cycle of birth to death. The technology responds to other “living” bodies in the system, not a randomized code.

Notice that zero never appears. By purposefully avoiding a number that signifies death, the artist visually depicts the Buddhist teaching that death is a rebirth, not an end. The work’s title also references the goal of liberating oneself from societal boundaries and rationality. Coined by Antonin Artaud, the poetic concept Corps sans Organes captures the desire for a virtual, idealized body functioning independently of its parts to reach an unmediated state of existence.

From the 2024 exhibition, A Space for Dialogue 116, Apocalypse When: reflections on our collective psyche, Molly Rouzie '24, Homma Family Intern

Exhibition History

A Space for Dialogue 116, Apocalypse When: reflections on our collective psyche, Molly Rouzie '24, Homma Family Intern, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 6 - March 2, 2024

Tatsuo Miyajima: I-Model, Lisson Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 27 September - 2 November, 2013

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 213, ill. plate no. 144.


Lisson Gallery, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2017.

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