The body possesses a dual possibility within itself, and hence often yields entirely antithetical experiences of the world: in one instance, it sustains the injunctions of power, while in another context it aims to subvert those same columns through transgressive distortions of reality. In either case, it does so in silence (whether that of a prison cell or a private thought). With respect to the fi rst manifestation, Michel Foucault emerges as perhaps the most scathing critic of power’s exploitation of the physical world, tracking its ability to infl ict systems of cruelty and disciplinary torment upon the silenced body (and by extension subjectivity) in the modern age. As a theorist of the second occasion, Gaston Bachelard strives to invoke disparate elements of physical expression precisely so as to forge a gateway into the silent deformations of the night-dream. It is this dialectical tension, one that reveals the exceptional susceptibility of the body to such extreme interpretations, that this chapter will venture to engage, setting as its point of departure an analysis of the following conceptual spheres: production versus creation, immobility versus movement (the hands), the gaze versus the reverie (the mask, the eyes), and the “panoptical” space of the institution versus the “oneiric” space of the dream. Ultimately, by placing the dueling insights of Foucault and Bachelard into alignment, and then later subsuming them under Antonin Artaud’s third breakaway variable of innocence, a pendulous treatment of the silent body

(from the formed to the deformed to the unformed) can be suggested for which it is at once complicit with mechanisms of coercion and yet the cornerstone of the visionary.