Coding Consciousness: Transhumanist Aesthetics in Performance Luke Mason 0817036 Practical Option Proposal Tutor Supervision/ Guidance Dr. Tim White (and/or Temp-‐Tutor in Spring Term) Ian O’Donaghue -‐ working closely with from the outset in honing the practicalities of potentially ambitious initial ideas
Medium Mixed Media Experiential Installation (Web/ Cyber Art/ Scientific Instrumentation/ Video/ Live Art)
Concept/ Initial Ideas N. Katherine Hayles has suggested, that the desire expressed in the cybernetic construct of the body-‐plus-‐computer-‐ plus-‐simulation is to leave the body and have it too-‐ to use the human sensorium's pattern recognition faculties without having to deal with such reminders of geographical, temporal, and political situatedness as disease, pollution, 1 commodification, and sociologically marked bodies. I aim for my dissertation to practically explore and challenge the performance of identity as mediated by current and potential technological advance. We have reached a ‘second modernity’ where we are able to enter the digital realm and simultaneously augment our own reality, allowing us to process and explore multiple identities through the ‘coding’ of our conscious experience onto digital avatars, such as those in Second Life. However, this serves to challenge the politics of our bio-‐representation. I want to explore, through creative performance techniques, the possibility of being able to ‘upload’ our consciousness. Ann Weinstone comments, on artificial life, "[c]ode is coming to function as the transcendental, unifying, and ideal substance of life-‐for the non-‐referential, the unmediated-‐while at the same time, it retains 2 attributes, or the trace if you will, of writing, replacing the body with a less mortal letter. " We already see ourselves th in the 20 Century as alpha-‐numerical data (i.e. DNA) with our bio-‐metrics becoming our bio-‐idenity. ‘Coding Consciousness’ represents both the great challenge and great limitation of technology. My aim is to look at how performance can transcend these technological limitations and utter suggestions as to the creative application of life without boundaries -‐ creating a mind free to transcend positional limits by embodying technology. I aim to work with the Applied Neuroimaging department at the WGM Digital Lab, Warwick. I have already begun approaching scientists here under the guidance of performance artist and academic Anna Dumitriu whose experimental work involves trans-‐disciplinary practice-‐based research. She has collaborated with scientists on many major projects and is currently Artist in Residence at The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Dept of Informatics at Sussex University. I perceive the piece taking shape through the study and mapping of conscious experience mediated by either virtual or physical audience interactions within the performative installation. I am to explore, through this piece the question and challenge that transhumanist artist, Natasha Vita-‐More, posed to me at the Humanity Plus Conference in April, “If we have multiple identities and multiple selves how will these affect our being and our creativity? […] I mean who or 3 what are we in Second Life? ”
Hayles, N. Katherine (1999). How we became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. [pp.173-‐83]. Paraphrased by by Waller, Margertite (1997) If "Reality is the Best Metaphor," It Must Be Virtual 2
Weinstone, Ann. "Welcome to the Pharmacy: Addiction, Transcendence, and Virtual Reality." Diacritics 27.3 (1997): 77-‐89 Natasha Vita-‐More, Interviewed by Luke Mason at the Humanity Plus Conference, Conway Hall on 24 April 2010.