What it means to be human is changing. Increasingly, human beings see themselves as part of bigger ecological, economic and technological systems. If consciousness can just as easily reside in plants and machines, the body becomes interesting again: as one material among others that can be sculpted and transformed. Digitalisation of the body, the post-animal bioeconomy, artificial intelligence as creator: are we ready for the next level?
We invited leading posthumanist artists and thinkers to consider the future of human beings and the body. Karin Harrasser interviewed artist Stelarc, who has worked with robotics and artificial organs since the 1970s. Gianni Jetzer talked to artist Ian Cheng, who programs autonomously evolving, virtual ecosystems. And in a roundtable discussion, three of the food technology industry’s avant-garde—Todd Huffman, Ryan Bethencourt and Jayar La Fontaine—talk about the lab-grown diet of the future.
Curator Jeffrey Deitch reflects on his 1992/93 group show Post Human. Anselm Franke thinks through the late work of Harun Farocki to suggest that today, data forms our world and not the other way around. Rosi Braidotti sketches out a posthumanist, nomadic subject. Fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm writes a poem on the perfect body of the future. Hans-Christian Dany discovers the posthuman potential of the drug DMT, which he claims induces receptivity to a world wherein humans simply understand themselves as one form of being among many others. And Tenzing Barshee writes about the fusion of the sexes and the transgression of morals in Austrian artist Hans Scheirl’s Dandy Dust (1998).
In addition, Brian Droitcour analyzes bodybuilding as the sport of the age of surveillance. Alexander Scrimgeour sees the self and the public cast into disarray in Hannah Perry’s art. Noura Wedell reads the biocapitalist present in Pierre Guyotat’s 1970 novel Eden Eden Eden. In her short story, Sarah Nicole Pricketttells of an erotic evening with her extended family under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. And philosopher Damien Williams explains why we should rethink our own ethics before teaching machines ethical behavior.
Plus: Reviews of Felix Bernstein’s musical-performance “Bieber Bathos Elegy” at the Whitney Museum in New York and of the most important exhibitions in Brussels, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Zurich, Geneva, and Los Angeles. And image contributions by Phil Up, Charlotte Prodger, Judith Bernstein, Chloe Piene andShahryar Nashat.
Upcoming: Spike Conversations at NADA/Art Cologne with Fabrice Stroun, Nik Kosmas, Masha McConaghy, Yilmaz Dziewior, and others.