Issuu on Google+

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? ”  

                                                                                                                          1

 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.  

3

th


Coding Consciousness: Transhumanist Aesthetics in Performance - Proposal