Wintermute-wasted Turing-cops, sensitive silicon, socket-head subversion... skin, interfaces, & mimetic flesh; Fanged Noumena, Digital Delirium, & Stelarc

/ Stelarc \

Memetic flesh as a floating outlaw zone where memes fold into genes, where the delirious spectacle of cyber-culture reconfigures the future of the molecular body. In Ars California, mimetic flesh is neither future nor history, but the molecular present. Pure California Gening. . . . Neither techno-utopian nor techno-phobic, mimetic art in the streets of SF is always dirty, always rubbing memes against genes, always clicking into (our) memetic flesh.

My latest filmic foray into the world of WWE (formerly WWF, the wildlife guys were 
getting wild) where cold war agitprop gilded the flesh fight ; Paris 2014

The skin has been a boundary for the soul, for the self, and simultaneously, a beginning to the world. Once technology stretches and pierces the skin, the skin as a barrier is erased.

How can the body function within this landscape of machines? Technology has speeded up the body. The body now attains planetary-escape velocity, has to function in zero-G and in greater time-space continuums. For me this demonstrates the biological inadequacy of the body. Given that these things have occurred, perhaps an ergonomic approach is no longer meaningful. In other words, we can't continue designing technology for the body because that technology begins to usurp and outperform the body. 

Perhaps it's now time to design the body to match it's machines. We somehow have to turbo-drive the body-implant and augment the brain. We have to provide ways of connecting it to the cyber-network. At the moment this is not easily done, and it's done indirectly via keyboards and other devices. There's no way of directly jacking in. Mind you, I'm not talking here in terms of sci-fi speculation. For me, these possibilities are already apparent. What do we do when confronted with the situation where we discover the body is obsolete? We have to start thinking of strategies for redesigning the body.

 Technology is what defines being human. It's not an antagonistic alien sort of object, it's part of our human nature. It constructs our human nature. We shouldn't have a Frankensteinian fear of incorporating technology into the body, and we shouldn't consider our relationship to technology in a Faustian way - that we're somehow selling our soul because we're using these forbidden energies. My attitude is that technology is, and always has been, an appendage of the body.

CTheory interview with Stelarc, hither>>>

Pan-Africanist Pop Art, New Elizabethan cult of personality, and Social Realist portraiture

Melanie Gilligan: The Common Sense, Phase 1

Melanie Gilligan's largest project to date, The Common Sense takes the form of a sci-fi mini-series which looks at how minds, bodies, and interpersonal relations are shaped by technological advancements within capitalism. This experimental narrative drama tells a story that revolves around a future technology which allows one to directly experience another person's bodily sensations and affect, a system that becomes widely adapted altering social interactions until it breaks down and alternative narratives unfold.

Gilligan draws upon a feminist sci-fi tradition that includes the work of writers Octavia E. Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin in which sci-fi is used as a means for both critiquing a social order and proposing a different vision. The story is also influenced by recent social movements and riots across the world responding to the "permanent crisis" of capitalism. Gilligan explores the complex relationship between the technological development as propelled by capitalist accumulation and how interpersonal relations and emotions are instrumentalized in this process. However, the artist also leaves open some uncertainty for possibilities regarding the new conditions technological change can create.

The Otolith Group: In the Year of the Quiet Sun

The post-lens essay-film In the Year of the Quiet Sun, also the title of the exhibition, explores the role of the Ghana Philatelic Agency. This mysterious Wall Street company created the Pan-Africanist Pop aesthetic associated with the independent state of Ghana from 1957 until the overthrow of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, in 1966. Connecting postal politics depicting antagonistic policies of newly independent states to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement within the unstable context of the global Cold War, the title also points to the decrease in solar surface temperature that occurs every 11 years. 

Occupying two rooms of Casco's new space, the installation Statecraft envisions the short century of decolonization as a political calendar assembled from the medium of the postage stamp. These masscult artifacts were issued to commemorate the independence of Africa's new nation-states, from Liberia in 1847 to South Sudan in 2011. The formation reveals the iconography of independence as a combination of Pan-Africanist Pop Art, New Elizabethan cult of personality, and Social Realist portraiture.