Stelarc A third virtual arm Muscles stimulated by computers Connection to robotic prosthetics He wants a third ear
A new physiological entity? A network of organic and technological parts in a cybernetic circuit
The body is trapped by gravity
‘ The body is neither a very efficient nor a very durable structure. It malfunctions often and fatigues quickly; its performance is determined by its age. It is susceptible to disease and is doomed to a certain and early death’. (Stelarc, 2000, p.561)
‘ The body needs to be repositioned from the psycho realm of the biological to the cyber zone of the interface and extension – from genetic containment to electronic extrusion ’.
(Stelarc, 2000, p.560)
‘ It is time to question whether a bipedal, breathing body with binocular vision and a 1400cc brain is an adequate biological form. It cannot cope with the quantity, complexity and quality of information it has accumulated…, it is biologically ill-equipped to cope with its new extra-terrestrial environment ’. (Stelarc, 2000, p.561)
Lister et al. use the term ‘cyberculture’ in two distinct ways (2003, p.385):
‘ culture and technology’ from cybernetics, of how people live with technology in digital, mechanical and industrial structures
theoretical study of the culture and technology of this ‘cyberculture’, and in particular an interest in the profound interrelationship between computer technology and culture in the contemporary world
Disembodiment / embodiment
Cyberculture studies Computer and networked technologies biotechnology
Cyberpunk fiction 1984 disembodied cyberspace
‘ technoculture’ increasing incidence of human-machine convergence and interface cyberculture computers and networks biotechnology robotics artificial intelligence (AI) genetics
The science of control and communication in animals and machines , biology and technology (Norbert Wiener)
‘ smart’ machines
Cybernetic Media Technologies
Loop of constant information and energy exchange, a circuit of constancy of action and reaction
Temporary situation of being ‘in the loop’ or ‘plugged in’ to media such as cinema or videogames
a simple circuit between the brain and the cinema, the spectator is a cybernetic subject of the physical cinema
Videogames as Cybernetic Media
‘ the circuit serves to reduce the possibilities of motion and action and to amplify the remaining actions through a delicate balance of feedback mechanisms… Cybernetically, then, interactivity is a false description of a process of the programmed elimination of possible actions, not of creating possibilities of actions’
(Lister et al., 2003, p.357)
People are no longer separable from the saturation of biology-technology, individually and environmentally
Technically a person with a surgical implant such as a pacemaker is a cyborg?
But what we really mean by cyborg is a creature that is constituted wholly of biological and technological components
‘ The contemporary intersection of the body, information and technology gives us a different body from the somewhat fixed and frail, if valiant body we were used to’ (Murphie and Potts, 2003, p.115)
Technology is increasingly integrated with the human body.
Technology is used to augment or replace human physical functions.
The ‘Frankenstein myth’ – are we acting outside of our moral capacity?
Do our values change when we are hybrid human -machines?
What kind of politics do we need to ‘control’ or ‘regulate’ the development of cyborgs?
Are we now post-human ?
If we can integrate the body with technology – do we need to reconsider the ethics of human action?
What empathy do we have with ‘ animalistic ’ organisms if we have become ‘ technological ’ organisms?
How do we consider our own identities if they are augmented by machines?
High-tech culture challenges the notion of the ‘human’.
Boundaries between the ‘human’ and the ‘machine’ are transgressed .
Cyborgs can undertake tasks and roles that humans cannot or do not want to do
In embracing the cyborg we can re-define what it means to be human.
mobile privatization mobility personalisation
From portables to wearables
Internet dematerialisation of music
From environmental audio to embodied audio cyborg?
‘ The second best part about the Nike+ running — the cool, video-game like part — is that you not only run, but you also get points for running . Your score ever-increases. Better still, if you set goals for yourself, you even get awesome virtual trophies and ribbons , resplendent in their vector beauty... And the coolest part about Nike+ running? Like any good online game, you can challenge your friends. First to 100 miles? Fastest 5-mile time? Your call’ http://www.cabel.name/2006/08/multiplayer-game-of-year.html
‘ cyberculture in general is a highly physicalist environment in which the lines dividing biology from technology are erased by biotechnology, art and surgery. If cyberculture has a bias, then, it is not towards disembodiment but towards physicality’
(Lister et al., 2003, p.376)
William J. Mitchell
the transformation of wireless technology in the hundred years since Marconi--the scaling up of networks and the scaling down of the apparatus for transmission and reception
This transformation has, in turn, changed our relationship with our surroundings and with each other.
ubiquitous, inescapable network interconnectivity
a world governed less and less by boundaries and more and more by connections
The cyborg self
Mitchell suggests that there is a particular embodiment of technology through machines and computer networks that have extended our bodies as machines so that we have become part-machine or cyborgs:
I construct, and am constructed, in a mutually recursive process that continually
engages my fluid, permeable boundaries and my endlessly ramifying networks. I am a
spatially extended cyborg.
(Mitchell, 2003, p.39)
When I sat down to make a list of audio technoculture I wrote this:
Living room radio
‘ rock and roll’
Internet as technoculture?
Web 2.0 and audio technoculture?
Case study Last.fm
From broadcast to network?
A different physicality of audio technology?
Last.fm and the cyborg self?
Martin Stiksel, co-founder Last.fm
‘ It’s a new music movement driven by the people, allowing everybody to become a DJ, and every musician to be played right next to Michael Jackson, if their music is up to it’ (Benedictus, 2006)
Social music networks and the cyborg self
Network flows of information about music tastes
Connectivity between music consumers and producers (playlists and artists)
Expanding musical knowledge in your taste spectrum
From audience to DJ
An online radio station that ‘knows’ you through your musical tastes (identity)
But this has been learned as the technology has been incorporated into everyday life
Are we learning to make network media ordinary?
What is extraordinary about new media?
Podcasting – ordinary – extraordinary?
Mundane cyborg practice (Petersen, 2007)
‘ always on’ broadband internet has allowed it to become a mundane technology of ‘constant connectivity’
‘ mundane cyborg practice’ of human-computer-internet action
Study of 6 broadband users (students, unemployed academics) at 4 homes
48 hours of observation per home
Home – network of household connection
Time – habitual, repetitive browsing (news, blogs, email, IM) as part of the patterns of the day
Multifunctional spontaneous use as part of the everyday routines of home – as a flow and mixing of study, work, leisure
Remediation of previous tasks
Restructure of physical setting – closeness to computers
Ubiquitous computing and mobile phones :
‘ the experience of computing becomes more and more physical and material, underlining the fact that we will still go about our lives as mundane cyborgs’ (Petersen, 2007, p.89)
How do you use computers as part of your everyday life as a ‘mundane cyborg practice?
Do you feel as though you are part of a growing technoculture or cyberculture?
What is the ordinariness or extraordinariness of human-computer-internet action?
Bibliography Benedictus, L. (2006) Last.fm, Martin Stiksel [WWW] Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1939028,00.html (Accessed 6 November 2006). Lister, M. (et al.) (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction , London and New York, Routledge. Mitchell, W. J. (2003) Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City , Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Moores, S. (2005) Media/Theory , London and New York, Routledge. Murphie, A. and Potts, J. (2003) Culture & Technology , Basingstoke, Palgrave. Petersen, S. M. (2007) Mundane Cyborg Practice: Material Aspects of Broadband Internet Use, Convergence 13:1. pp.79-91. Stelarc (2000) From Psycho-Body to Cyber-Systems: Images as Post- Human Entities, in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B. (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader , London and New York, Routledge.