Monday, May 18, 2009

Test_Lab: V2 wearable technology performance art + lecture

As electronic technology is more and more pervading our everyday lives, it is also finding its way into our clothing. How will this fusion augment the human body and allow it a new means of expression, social interaction, or even personal and spiritual development?

Next Wednesday at the V2_ lab at the Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, an event called Test_Lab will take place comprising a lecture by Sabine Seymour, author of the book "Fashionable Technology", followed up by two live performances of groups that have developed interactive garments during a two-day workshop in collaboration with Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson of Kobakant and Plusea. As seen in the picture above, I will be performing myself as a 'Human Violin', rendering the technologically mediated human body both a generative and a manipulative instrument. Also other artists will show and discuss their latest projects. For anybody interested in one of the more exciting technological fusions of our day, or in the future of technology and the cyborg in general, make sure to be there!

It starts at Wednesday May 20th, 8PM, at the V2_ lab: Eendrachtsstraat 10 in Rotterdam.

Monday, May 11, 2009

the 21st century gait

One new morphological identity coming up, digitigrade legs sure why not! Two months waiting after your order at, and you'll look like Pan himself. I wonder when the first person is actually going to decide growing his bones in such a radically different way.

Monday, May 4, 2009

the disabled hero

With products-to-be like Exmovere's Chariot, the disabled almost become the privileged. I find this product especially striking as an image, because it shows a full embodiment of a human and his technology, while still the connections between both the human body and the device as separate dynamic complex systems are still very abstract of course.

While it nears the proportions of a washing machine, you might call this product wearable although it definitely stretches the boundaries of that concept since if the Chariot is wearable, is a regular car or a Segway not wearable? The interesting aspect of this innovation still is mostly in the image, as with a car or Segway it is clear that people have to consciously move the technological device with their own bodily actions, while the Chariot seems to be blended together with the human body.

In this, it profoundly changes the body and while optimizing it for a specific function, namely that of perpetuating itself over flat surfaces, it makes the body less flexible and less holistic. In a sense, the Chariot reinforces the split between body and mind, which remarkably is also signified by the almost literal higher placement of the human on a pedestal, as if he has conquered nature and can now abstract himself from the earth that gave birth to him. Of course we grow through abstractions, and by now abstracting our entire being we can maybe come to make more transcendental realizations about the oneness of man and technology.

To me the Chariot is one of the clearest signifiers of posthuman technology with which our world will soon be pervaded: fully embodied, absorbing the human, abstracting it before being able to uplift it. A temporary cocoon towards the metamorphosis that posthuman enlightenment will be.

uncontrollable faces

In a posthuman world little patterns will probably be recognizable that we used to call human, even the face will profoundly change and we might collectively need to learn to deal with getting little social reinforcement anymore through facial expressions, but learn to intuitively see what is good and what is not, probably based on a dream or vision we collectively come to share.

As we are now more and more rapidly exploring the technological liquification of the body, including the brain, it becomes clear that a vast new area lies open in front of us once we realize that we are not bound to the social patterns we are conditioned to call 'human'. In fact, I would even say that we are mostly clueless about what to do. This cluelessness can be incredibly amusing when it is consciously put as free artistic expression, such as in the experiment of Daito Manabe.

Manabe has wired the facial muscles up to a computer that generates music and produces electrical signals in line with this music that are transferred to the human face through electrodes, subsequently making the face contract, twitch and tremble. In the movie above, pay attention to the guy on the top right as he sometimes tries to laugh but these socially ingrained patterns are then quickly overruled by the machine. It is clear that we are losing control, and we have to accept this in order to become transcendentally more than we have ever been.