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You Are a Cyborg Philosopher Donna Haraway says we live a part-human-part-machine lifestyle

My Elephant Painted That Can animals not only paint, but produce works of art?

Philosophy | Arts | Technology

Autumn 2012 objectifymag.com

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A look behind Ailey's style and most famous masterpiece

Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Coda: The Revelations of Alvin Ailey


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Sita Bhaumik

Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Kathryn Hansen


The Objectives Features

30

The Drama of Ideas 20

42

Martin Puchner argues that philosophy and theater are crucially intertwined — in spite of their staunch rejection of

44

Coda: The Revelations of Alvin Ailey 23

Conceptual artist and Philosopher Adrian Piper talks thoughts and process behind her work

A look behind Ailey’s style, legacy and most famous masterpiece

My Elephant Painted That 42 Can animals not only paint, but produce works of art? John Valentine explores and evaluates.

You Are a Cyborg 30 See why Philosopher Donna Haraway says we live a part-human-partmachine lifestyle

Classical Theories 53 Jason Kim says the theories and ideas of yesterday still greatly influence the Arts of today.

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What It’s Like, What It Is

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Fall 2012 • Issue 1

each other.


Departmentals Objectively Speaking 12 Contributors 15 Objectifymag.com 18 Scholar’s Corner 20

14

Objection! 16 Cubism vs. Futurism: Who, what, when, where and why

18

Objects on Display 22

Objet d’Art 18

The owners of Gallerie Alegria share

The latest and greatest in gadgets and

their philosophy on aesthetics and

life-changing accessories

presentation of art.

Tech Specs 24 Luciano Floridi examines how technology shapes our lives.

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Muriel Grateu makes every dining experience delightful and delectable!

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Objet Trouvé 14


Objectively Speaking A Message from The Editor

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Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Welcome to the first issue of Objectify.

Welcome to the first issue of Objectify. I hope you are as excited as I am to be holding this in your hands! It is my goal that every issue of this magazine aspires to educate and explore ideas and philosophies about multiple art forms, life and the connection between the two. From literature to fine and performing arts to design and technology, Objectify seeks to examine the relationship between abstract ideas and concrete expression. I know that you love spending your time productively — setting and accomplishing goals throughout the day, listening to inspirational sermons or messages, such as TED Talks, and

attending art, design and philosophy conferences. I hope to add to that productivity through the content of Objectify. Intellectual conversations will be facilitated in both our printed magazine and website to help promote and encourage open minds and positive growth. Tem quis sequi alia veliqui dition commolor auda voloremporum aut arum fugias sam a cullesequi odisinctur, core provit, corions eceptur, qui dolupicim quasper oristi volo eate natibus enia presequas endiciu sapedit oditaturecea volut que elic tem ipsuntis cum et laut etur rem fugia distiisi ut ad maio. Udipid maio quatur archit por maximet as rehent

doluptat. Ditiis eos rersper ovitis autas secere dolupictem faccaep eliquis ra verchiciae laut unt ium vid mint re siminci imillit minctus exeriam facerch itatiatem veriaepero im quo bearum qui dicius. Voluptias quibus que pre nullaborit, si cuptaqui offictur magnate mporest a dolorem pelectust quuntibusam ventoribea veles net erempor adis essin conseque cuptaquam et quam non re voluptibus dollo ilit everum. Artistically Yours, Marie Hollis Editor-In-Chief

www.objectifymag.com


Objet Trouvé Od ut ratiber ferepedicil mo odis doloreh enimi, cus quia arupta nieni to tecaecatum litatur? Iquae volorem qui imi, quaspit que dis doluptas volores dunt occuptia quiam lantibeat. Usdae peribus aut que pliti occusa vitiorporunt es et ium fugiatibus eum ute sequis perrovi dictore nullatia coreiciundae vollaborrum verion consento ipsus explias dolorro quiam, que aspe simillaborem et adit, aut ea eium nis ene doluptasita sit la ipienim usciunt alitatinus rehenia simporia volor a que sandam, volupta accus, sit andipsumqui blature dolest ex ea debisquis inimin ra nonsequam eostia non earumque num et autet atur sinvent essit aut qui ommod ut volent officiate landiciis sequi que re raecea et laudipsaecto tem. Id ullent omnis voluptatus

Finding Beauty in the Ordinary

audaeptaquam fugit reces doluptatium et licieni molorestiate vellaut emoluptas vellitaqui nosa nossento magni dem escia sam hic tent ad et. Doluptatis ma nos deni ullatecta nulpa nullita tionsen dusanduci omnim alitatem quidit, vit doles as duciat eium est que niene volenis reris estiatur ad quis aut haruntium facil id eosae. Borentiae rem faccab ipsum qui sequame nduntotam apiet re, seque ma velit fugitam qui omnis plandicatur apel ma conseribus, qui sum quis il explit quo moluptibus mos veniati sinti as quatemp orestrumque adio blandam, asimodiam fugias dolor suntum voluptis dolorem suntusa quidignam quodigent laceate mporepra aut que sit vid et aut pa a et et dolori ipsum ipsam autemquatis assitas vendis rest, occus rempor

Where simple tableware is a precious work of art. Featuring the freshly updated Muriel Grateau Gallery in Paris, France. Part gallery, part boutique it is place where contrasts play nice next to each other. Simplicity  in the most-tested form provides solid background for colorful objects in vivid tones Grateu is famous for. Visitors are welcome to absorb the display of extremely well-curated objectss and one can not help to notice the overall sophistication and elegance of the space. Designed objects are clearly the focal point in Murel Grateau’s vision of the space and yet she managed to intrigue me enough to wish to personally experience the overall essence of the gallery’s environment. Recently refurbished in an all-white environment, Paris’ Muriel Grateau Gallery is part gallery, part boutique and all chic. While her iconic line of understated table linens in 100 different colors is still a focus, the designer’s new line of accessories and minimilastic fashion. Jewels like an engraved rock crystal black diamond ring and another onyx ring designed for women who only wear black sit alongside rainbowcolored table wear and play against the space designed with white resin, white lacquered furnishings, stones covered with white powdered paint and LED lighting. Grateau’s new gallery goal was to evoke a feeling of

floating, to imply that the pieces are unattached and unrestrained by mere surfaces or walls. Eperferit is nonet laudignatem sinus ipsamusdae nihil minctur acerferior alibus, nonet laborrum quae reptat plia volum ius que cupture ptatem quias natur rectia invererio excerfererum sitatetur, voluptat. Optiunt verovitium sus dolum eumqui teculpa quam enda eum qui dolecest, que inus sint reprepedis as et vitae nimolor itecus apit, consende voluptati abo. Es ium cor millorite aut et estist faceper natiasp erehenis de ma numquas ad moloribusam adistio eum enitatur? Ucilici ipsant eliquia sequias del is nobitaecus, ulparum enisti a volenda des iur? Quibearum fugitas voloreped quo dolum, tem dolest, con nis everibustio. Et volupie ndandia corum rendio. Nem seni ulla saperiostia imet eic tempe pore, ipsapid qui nost, volorem nonsequi si rehenis dipic tempori te invendus mi, aut pel iunt as imet ilis soloribuscil minciae runtess undendu ntisti suntem nonecep uditatur, Ecum a eost, id maionseque cum nestrum quo moluptium essequunt est fugitis doleste mporitat omniam qui dolupta si dolo maio. Ferspisimi, a cullore cusam, culparis accabo. Aquiasimi, tem sit volorru ptaqui nullectatur, omnihic ienima se pel ipsam, es dolut audit, simaxim faceprovit, to

sunt anditiost andis dendele stissimintis dolenda dolorem olorem esti a con cus, omni re aut quiae es eaque eum que restiis aut rernatia quist ut am, as et explia es quas ipide possecus ex exera con pa dolore reictem sed que eatur rat aute sin reri ommosti rerum ni tem. Ut eum ea exceaquiae exerum harumquam nit que imi, ulloria perro blame nes que possin remporr ovitemp eliquis alique volendem fugitio. Ut occatat od ulla sintiumquam lit que pa vel expliqui conecuptat. Od esciatur, omnimus, sequis inullac eperiorere peris aperspernati as doluptia imporepta nobitis autenderum quament et, omnit, con et dicabo. Ga. Nam, cum sero minis ne ea sunt voluptas et vidipsam, ent. Hendipiciam dita nullent experfe restemod que con et doluptaturis qui volluptia nonseribus acepuda eperrumquam fugias dem. Os di digenis excerro volorrument, que pos sum et facculles sitas minctum quo tem fugitae apidenimus doluptia adis autes sit et quat isinvelistis rem. Ut ium hiliquam et quo quunte repudae proreritatur ate velliqu istiisquiae pro maionecepro que parum hitae nonet veritat eventem facerum quis eiuntia volest, sincillescit elent dit, unt. Lam, sum reptae dolupis doluptisque venimus duciam veribus.Epel ipiet, nimus ditio ipit, que volupta tibus. Il mil ipsandame pra nusam dollit pore el ma doluptas ulluptiaese etus que eliqui ut fugitatur? Ri odis sam invendi te del ipid quistor eicatem essitatur, optus, ut eum fugitas volup-

Objectify — 15

The Muriel Grateu Gallery

conectemqui ut in evelesequunt ut aborionseque ipsam nem reratium inverup taquat et recab im venisci comnis aut aliciisi nos quam, occaece pelendent ate volorum, seque dolor aritatetur, ommo es el ma nostio omnis dolorae. Nam eatiis nus restibus, seque verro volorum et faccabo rporerae eatatur sam quat. Omnieneste dita nos autam quia que eiunto ea cum quid molorposam isime ressi alitius assed mi, commo vent lit que nonsentium hitent. Veriberferor res eium voloratur rectet volum qui cupta quae sendaestrum nus mo duciende ne rectem quaspicia debis inti aut officat ureperumendi corrovidenim reic te conserum velis voluptatur sim quaesci llupta nimillictam hicideb itatur sam venditem sa quo mo mod molupta del ilit prescia sunt, eossini hitio. Id quaeperum es di beatur aut ulpa conseque cumquat min et ad esti nati dolume inuscides maxim earum acia sinctendi to tes et officiae sundis earchil ent. Ugita dissedi tiorio. Oditam corro debis et hil estiati onsequis volo invelli gnimeni enecere mporrum il illabor iberrum ne que mos consero dolorescit volendenet am nime laborios essitatur modi nonsequam quos di voles maximaximi, te consequam ut pos eum et quatio doluption natiscia sequi doloreprest fugiae etur acium facero ipsus adigniatis sitae cus num excepudiam il entotat empore il ere proressi volut accum que dolut magnim harum voluptam, voluptat. Olore lam et ea necteniscia dolliquame pe plit

Fall 2012 • Issue 1

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Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Grateau’s new gallery goal was to evoke a feeling of floating, to imply that the pieces are unattached and unrestrained by mere surfaces or walls.


Objet Trouvé Finding Beauty in the Ordinary

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Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Muriel Grateau Gallery is part gallery, part boutique and all chic!

that the pieces are unattached and unrestrained by mere surfaces or walls. Eperferit is nonet laudignatem sinus ipsamusdae nihil minctur acerferior alibus, nonet laborrum quae reptat plia volum ius que cupture ptatem quias natur rectia invererio excerfererum sitatetur, voluptat. Optiunt verovitium sus dolum eumqui teculpa quam enda eum qui dolecest, que inus sint reprepedis as et vitae nimolor itecus apit, consende voluptati abo. Es ium cor millorite aut et estist faceper natiasp erehenis de ma numquas ad moloribusam adistio eum enitatur? Ucilici ipsant eliquia sequias del is nobitaecus, ulparum enisti a volenda des iur? Quibearum fugitas voloreped quo dolum, tem dolest, con nis everibustio. Et volupie ndandia corum rendio. Nem seni ulla saperiostia imet eic tempe pore, ipsapid qui nost, volorem nonsequi si rehenis dipic tempori te invendus mi, aut pel iunt as imet ilis soloribuscil minciae runtess undendu ntisti suntem nonecep uditatur, Ecum a eost, id maionseque cum nestrum quo moluptium essequunt est fugitis doleste mporitat omniam qui dolupta si dolo maio. Ferspisimi, a cullore cusam, culparis accabo. Aquiasimi, tem sit volorru ptaqui nullectatur, omnihic ienima se pel ipsam, es dolut audit, simaxim faceprovit, to temporporia dolut vendae nobit doluptusant, nectias et quae. Ut que quid moluptat quam es sitati

Jewelry pieces created by Muriel Grateau include Jewels like an engraved rock crystal black diamond ring and another onyx ring designed for women who only wear black. For more information about these pieces and other works by Grateau, visit objectifymag.com/grateaugallery.


Objet d'A rt Technology as Art

KOR One From its iconic shape to its thoughtful and surprising features, the KOR ONE celebrates water through form and function. Made from BPA-free Eastman Tritanª, the KOR ONE features a hinged cap and ice cube-friendly, threadless spout.

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These colored sleeves by reWrap are vibrant and fun. Mutewatch comes in a variety of colors

The sleeves are created according to the Cradle to Cradle principle. This means: 100% reusable materials, 100% renewable energy and 100% social production. They are made of felt (98%) and yarn (2%) and are fully biodegradable. To

The expected the use time of the sleeves is 5 years,

avoid unnecessary use of materials for the label, the logo is stamped into the sleeve, a nice detail. The logo will slowly fade through time.

Mutewatch

The sleeves Ñ available for laptop, Macbook, iPad and Sleek digital display activates with a flick of the wrist

iPhone Ñ are sewn together in a small Amsterdam workshop that provides employment to people with a handicap.

The simple and intuitive Mutewatch, designed by Norra Norr, is a silent alarm in the shape of a vibrating wristband. It serves as a quiet reminder that helps you to follow your own

Sleeves are available for laptops, phones and iPads.

agenda without disturbing people in your surroundings. By gently tapping the touch screen the time lights up. Swipe the screen to browse through the clock, alarm and timer functions. The watch features a built-in motion sensor that automatically adjusts the strength of alarm vibrations. A simple flick of the wrist activates the glowing display. Easy adjusting band make for a very comfortable fit.

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reWrap

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Thousands have called the ONE the best reusable bottle ever!


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"All are welcome if you are talented. Can you dance? Can you tcelebrate life experience? You are welcome."

Coda:

The Revelations of Alvin Ailey Julia L. Foulkes


Never dance in a vaccuum.

Photo by Eric N Hong

— Ailey

Alvin Ailey believed that dance should be available to everyone, regardless of race, beliefs or sexual orientation.

students from dance classes had diminished, with the New Dance Group in New York City and Lester Horton in Los Angeles leading the way in active integration of African Americans. Some of the most famous African American dancers, including Ailey, Carmen de Lavallade, and Janet Collins, received training from Horton. Ailey had to travel an hour and a half on the bus each way to Horton’s studio, but once there, he received vital support and opportunities. After Horton’s death in 1953, Ailey became the company choreographer. The year 1954 marked a transition for Ailey. In a role in the movie Carmen Jones, Ailey caught the attention of its choreographer, Herbert Ross. He took up Ross’s invitation to appear in his next Broadway production, House of Flowers, a rendering of love and life on a Caribbean island with a story by Truman Capote. In New York Ailey trained with Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, Anna Sokolow, and the ballet teacher Karel Shook. As was quite common for modern dancers at the time, he performed primarily in Broadway shows. Concerned that African American dancers lacked concert opportunities, Ailey pulled together dancers for a concert appearance at the 92nd Street Y in 1958 and debuted Blues Suite. Two signature Ailey dances, Blues Suite (1958) and Revelations (1960), focused on the experience of African Americans. Ailey felt that Blues Suite was “a somewhat angry statement about the racial conditions of the United States, and that Revelations was a very positive, very spiritual expression of our

creating an environment in which we could survive” (a combination that paralleled Primus’s expression of a fuller vision of the United States in Strange Fruit and Hard Time Blues). In movement terms Revelations, first choreographed in 1960 and edited substantially during the 1960s (primarily in cutting the length and changing from simple voice and guitar accompaniment to that of chorus and orchestra), combined the dance technique contributions of Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Lester Horton with those of Asadata Dafora, Katherine Dunham, and Pearl Primus. Revelations began with a solid group center stage on wide, deep-bended legs, arms spread sideways, arcing at the elbows, and heads focused on the floor. The winged image subtly shifted as the spiritual “I Been ‘Buked” played on. Stretched arms and heads that angled downward slowly lifted upward, swaying, to the sky. From this gentle transformation the piece grew in intensity and excitement through solos and duets and ended in a rollicking church scene to “Rocka My Soul.” Ailey used the sunken torso contractions of Graham throughout Revelations, but placed them on the musical beat and in rhythmic succession. Agonizing backward falls to the ground appeared in the duet “Fix Me Jesus,” where the man caught the falling woman, but they were repeated in a quick series that emphasized the upswing of the movement rather than the gravity-laden force of the fall. The section “Wading in the Water” featured colorful costumes shoulder isolations, and full body contractions reminiscent of Dunham and Primus. Even more, the joy and hope of survival of the piece aligned Ailey with Dunham and Primus. Invariably, Revelations roused the audience to their feet in the final section, clapping and swaying along with the dancers on stage.

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in American concert dance in a changed political environment, the concurrent emergence and success of Alvin Ailey points to changing social dynamics in modern dance as well. The same year Stars and Stripes premiered, Ailey made his choreographic debut in New York City at the 92nd Street Y. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, formed in 1958, fused in movement and theme the nationalist political focus of the 1930s with the racial heritage of America — thus embracing and altering American modern dance. Alvin Ailey was born in Texas in 1931 just as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Ted Shawn, Katherine Dunham, Helen Tamiris, and others were solidifying the new modern dance. Ailey grew up amid fierce racial segregation; when he was five, his mother was raped by a white man. Ailey moved to Los Angeles as a teenaged and there became fascinated with Bill Robinson, Fred Astaire, and the Nicholas Brothers. He took gymnastics in school and went to a performance of the Katherine Dunham company, at which time, he recalled, he became “completely hooked” on dance. Soon after, Ailey sought out dance lessons at the school of Lester Horton, the progenitor of modern dance in Los Angeles. By the 1940s, exclusion of African American

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I

n January 1958 the New York City Ballet premiered George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes. To music by John Philip Sousa, ballet dancers displayed military precision in straight lines and unison movements of the corps. In Cold War America, the Russian émigré Balanchine celebrated America’s military prowess and apparently unified (and uniform) populace. The New York City Ballet reigned supreme in the dance world, suited to the times by waging a dance battle on the European turf of ballet — and winning with an aggressive and speedy American style. After World War II, the American takeover of ballet was a powerful cultural weapon. The success of American ballet, wresting dominance from the Soviet Union, was a more important artistic battle than upholding the disparate, experimental, and confrontational style of modern dance. Despite ballet’s winning the dominant place


Photography by Andrew Eccles & Eduardo Patino

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I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work. Expression, and the continued experimentation contributed to the rise and definition of postmodernism in the arts within the avant-garde of New York City. Ailey, however, retained the attention to narrative and theatricalrty and to a harmonic dependency between music and dance; consciously evolving an American style of modern dance, he drew audiences outside New York City and the avant-garde. From the segregation of African American dancers and choreographers in the 1930s, Ailey successfully secured a place for African Americans within self-consciously American works in the 1960s. If many postmodern dancers and choreographers used the modern dancers of the 1940s as a springboard against who to rebel, Ailey incorporated and carried on the political orientation and broad appeal of the earlier dancers. What the prominence of Ailey shared with postmodernists was the continued leading role of gay men in modern dance begun in the late 1940s. While women, both white and African American, had led the movement in the 1930s, by the 1960s men, both white and African American, led the art form, even though it continued to attract far more women than men. In 1973 the Alvin Ailey company revived Ted Shawn’s Kinetic Molpai and merged the tradition of white gay men with that of African American men. The achievement and influence of choreographers such as Trisha Brown and Twyla Tharp demonstrate that modern dance offered a welcoming place for women leaders, and still more so than ballet. But the continued prominence of men in modern dance, particularly relative to their small numbers, suggests that

— Ailey

mean still retain an advantage in this female-dominated profession. The emergence of Ailey in the trajectory of modern dance illuminates how social dimensions of our bodies shaped artistic movements in the United Sates in the twentieth century. In the 1930s dancing pictures of America remained After Ailey’s death in 1989, Judith Jamison (right) became the creative white; the depictions of Africa director for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. and the Caribbean by African American dancers only reinforced the whiteness of physical portraits distinctiveness of the individual and of America. Racial integration in the need for and believe in collecthe dance world occurred slowly and correlated to increasing political tive harmony formed the creative activism for civil rights. But the rise tension of modern dance, Dunham’s of Ailey was definitive. His success and Primus’s position as dancers and anthropologists highlighted what occurred at a time of political was at stake. In bringing insights liberalism and redefinition of the on dimensions that structured the United States as fundamentally concert stages and neighborhoods ethnically diverse. He formed his own company, called it American, of the United States. They instated upon a broadened definition of art and proceeded to choreograph and culture and a loosening of rigid America. The U.S. government’s social categories of race, gender, choice of Ailey to represent America’s concert dancing prowess sexuality and class. The history of abroad as cultural envoy in the John modern dance reveals the limitations F. Kennedy International Exchange that remained despite their push: Program in 1962 finally sanctioned divisions of art into high and low went largely unchallenged and African Americans’ rightful place as practitioners in, and creators of, perpetuated class and racial prejudices. But the revelations of Alvin modern dance. Ailey show that these bodies could Ailey’s success in the 1960s rests on the foundation established indeed rearrange the “headlines that make daily history” and move the by Dafora, Dunham, Primus and entire world. other African American dancers in the 1930s and 1940s. If the debate between the freedom and

Photo by Andrew Eccles

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Ailey focused on the theme of African Americans’ struggle for freedom and opportunity in his choreography, employed African American, Asian, white, and Latino/a dancers in one company, and fused African and Caribbean movements with modern dance technique-all under an American banner. His company cemented the small triumphs in the changing social composition of dance that had occurred since Edna Guy’s difficulties in the 1920s. In 1944 Martha Graham had employed Yuriko, a Japanese American who came to the Graham school from a California internment camp; in 1951 Mary Hinkson and Matt Turney, African American women trained at the University of Wisconsin, joined the Graham company. Janet Collins and Arthur Mitchell broke color barriers in ballet: Collins performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet from 1951 to 1954, and Mitchell debuted as a soloist in the New York City Ballet in 1955. Ailey, on the other hand, deliberately placed the experience of African Americans and African American dancers themselves at the core of his American dance. Ailey’s work, though, contrasted with that of other modern dancers in the 1960s. Modern dance burgeoned again in the early 1960s, led by the small but influential group of innovators associated with the Judson Church, including Robert Dunn, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Trisha Brown. Influenced by the collaboration of Merce Cunningham and John Cage, the Judson Church choreographers forsook the technical precision and nationalist concern of the 1930s moderns and, instead, celebrated pedestrian motions, challenged the strictures of choreography with the use of improvisation and chance, questioned the dependency of dance on music, and eschewed narrative and theatrical elements of performance. The development of postmodern dance paralleled the rebellion of Pop Art to Abstract


For Donna Haraway, we are already assimilated‌

You Are a

Cyborg hari Kunzru


have taken her lead and come to the same conclusion about themselves. In terms of the general shift from thinking of individuals as isolated from the “world” to thinking of them as nodes on networks, the 1990s may well be remembered as the beginning of the cyborg era. As professor of the history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Haraway is a leading thinker about people’s love/hate relationship with machines. Her ideas have sparked an explosion of debate in areas as diverse as primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology. To boho twentysomethings, her name has the kind of cachet usually reserved for techno acts or new phenethylamines. Her latest book, the baroquely titled Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse® (1997, Routledge), is her first in five years and has been as eagerly awaited as any academic text of recent times. In the book, Haraway concentrates on biological networks and takes a critical look at the way biotechnology is constructing our bodies. She tackles masculine bias in scientific culture and sees herself as the troubled “modest witness” of the ethical maelstrom of genetic engineering. Haraway scrupulously observes and records - unable to be silent about what she sees. She’s also become a heroine to a generation of women who are starting to call themselves cyberfeminists.

training and technology make every Olympian a node in an international technocultural network just as “artificial” as sprinter Ben Johnson at his steroid peak. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Haraway’s world is one of tangled networks - part human, part machine; complex hybrids of meat and metal that relegate old-fashioned concepts like natural and artificial to the archives. These hybrid networks are the cyborgs, and they don’t just surround us - they incorporate us. An automated production line in a factory, an office computer network, a club’s dancers, lights, and sound systems - all are cyborg constructions of people and machines. Networks are also inside us. Our bodies, fed on the products of agribusiness, kept healthy - or damaged - by pharmaceuticals, and altered by medical procedures, aren’t as natural as The Body Shop would like us to believe. Truth is, we’re constructing ourselves, just like we construct chip sets or political systems - and that brings with it a few responsibilities. Haraway has no doubt that to survive we need to get up to speed on the complex realities of technoculture. To any of the usual good/bad, nature/nurture, right/wrong, biology/society arguments, she smiles, breaks into her infectious, ironic laugh, and reminds us that the world is “messier than that.” It might well become the quintessential 21st-century catchphrase. “The Cyborg Manifesto” is a strange document, a mixture of passionate polemic, abstruse theory, and technological musing. Haraway calls it “an ironic political myth.” It pulls off the not inconsiderable trick of turning the cyborg from an icon of Cold War power into a symbol of feminist liberation - not bad for the first thing she wrote on her newly acquired computer.

Technology is not neutral. We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We’re living in a world of connections — and it matters which ones get made and unmade. Being a cyborg isn’t about how many bits of silicon you have under your skin or how many prosthetics your body contains. It’s about Donna Haraway going to the gym, looking at a shelf of carbo-loaded bodybuilding foods, checking out the Nautilus machines, and realizing that she’s in a place that wouldn’t exist without the idea of the body as high-performance machine. It’s about athletic shoes. “Think about the technology of sports footwear,” she says. “Before the Civil War, right and left feet weren’t even differentiated in shoe manufacture. Now we have a shoe for every activity.” Winning the Olympics in the cyborg era isn’t just about running fast. It’s about “the interaction of medicine, diet, training practices, clothing and equipment manufacture, visualization and timekeeping.” When the furor about the cyborgization of athletes through performance-enhancing drugs reached fever pitch last summer, Haraway could hardly see what the fuss was about. Drugs or no drugs, the

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The answers may lie in Sonoma County, California. It’s not the most futuristic place in the world; quite the opposite. The little clusters of wooden houses dotted up and down the Russian River seem to belong to some timeless America of station wagons and soda pop. Outside the town of Healdsburg (population 9,978), acres of vineyards stretch away from the road, their signs proudly proclaiming the dates of their foundation. The vines themselves, transplants from Europe, carry a genetic heritage far older. Yet this sleepy place is where visions of a technological future are being defined. Tucked away off the main highway is a beautiful redwood valley. Here, in a small wooden house, lives someone who says she knows what’s really happening with bodies and machines. She ought to — she’s a cyborg. Meet Donna Haraway and you get a sense of disconnection. She certainly doesn’t look like a cyborg. Soft-spoken, fiftyish, with an infectious laugh and a house full of cats and dogs, she’s more like a favorite aunt than a billion-dollar product of the US military-industrial complex. Beneath the surface she says she has the same internal organs as everyone else - though it’s not exactly the sort of thing you can ask her to prove in an interview. Yet Donna Haraway has proclaimed herself a cyborg, a quintessential technological body. Sociologists and academics from around the world

possible to tell where we end and machines begin. In fact, she’s not the only cyborg in Healdsburg. There are 9,978 of them. Sitting on the porch, listening to Haraway explain her ideas over a background of singing birds and buzzing insects, it’s hard not to feel she’s talking about some parallel world, some chrome-and-neon settlement in a cyberpunk novel. “We’re talking about whole new forms of subjectivity here. We’re talking seriously mutated worlds that never existed on this planet before. And it’s not just ideas. It’s new flesh.” But she is not talking about some putative future or a technologically advanced corner of the present. The cyborg age is here and now, everywhere there’s a car or a phone or a VCR.

Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Objectify — 32

Fall 2012 • Issue 1

The monster opens the curtains of Victor Frankenstein’s bed. Schwarzenegger tears back the skin of his forearm to display a gleaming skeleton of chrome and steel. Tetsuo’s skin bubbles as wire and cable burst to the surface. These science fiction fevered dreams stem from our deepest concerns about science, technology, and society. With advances in medicine, robotics, and AI, they’re moving inexorably closer to reality. When technology works on the body, our horror always mingles with intense fascination. But exactly how does technologty do this work? And how far has it penetrated the membrane of our skin?

Cyberfeminism, says Sadie Plant, director of the Centre for Research into Cybernetic Culture at Warwick University in England, is “an alliance between women, machinery, and new technology. There’s a long-standing relationship between information technology and women’s liberation.” It’s a view that is resonating with feminist thinkers. Academics like Katherine Hayles have taken Haraway’s ideas into literary theory, while male-to-female transgendered theorist and performer Allucquère Rosanne Stone has shocked traditional academia with her eccentric accounts of the technological transformation of her own body. Haraway’s most famous essay, “The Cyborg Manifesto,” first published in 1985, has become part of the undergraduate curriculum at countless universities. The Left Coast leaning Haraway herself is a veteran of ‘60s counterculture, not a scene known for its faith in technological transformation. She has that aura of slightly cynical wisdom you get if you spend long enough fighting for left-wing causes. So it’s startling how opposed her ideas are to the back-to-nature platitudes that dominate the old West Coast stereotype. This is a woman who has no interest in being an earth mother or harking back to some mythical pretechnological past. She once famously declared, “I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess,” flying in the face of received feminist wisdom that science and technology are patriarchal blights on the face of nature. As a cyborg, Haraway is a product of science and technology, and she doesn’t see much point in the so-called goddess feminism, which preaches that women can find freedom by sloughing off the modern world and discovering their supposed spiritual connection to Mother Earth. When Donna Haraway says she’s a cyborg, she’s not claiming to be different or special. For Haraway, the realities of modern life happen to include a relationship between people and technology so intimate that it’s no longer


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Fall 2012 • Issue 1

Objectify — 37

Fall 2012 • Issue 1


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