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.

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