Paradoxical Bodies: Animal Human and Machine

  • ©ISEA2016: 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Ingrid Bachmann, Paradoxical Bodies: Animal Human and Machine


Session Title:

  • Post-Human 2

Presentation Title:

  • Paradoxical Bodies: Animal Human and Machine



  • Many age old assumptions and practices are coming into question, long held views about nature, human nature, about the definition of life are being re- examined and in many cased abandoned in what has been termed, the emerging BioTech Century. The proliferation of new technologies and media, advances in biotechnologies and genetic engineering are provoking a re-examination of the constitution of the terms “nature”, “human” and “machine”. Subsequently, the re- examination of these “essential” categories are likewise reshaping notions of self, society and other, and provoking some new and potent configurations of what constitutes life. One boundary to be breached in addition to organism/machine is the distinction between animal/human. Current developments in biotechnologies – xenotransplantation, michrochimerism – suggest that biology does matter and that the machine/human coupling is expanding into the machine/human/animal hybrid. In this paper I would like to explore a more thoughtful awareness of the complicated connections between bodies -human, animal, machine, and material bodies. I will look at some early examples of humananimal hybrids and then discuss an interactive and kinetic sculptural art project entitled Pelt (Bestiary) that explores some of these ideas. In Pelt (Bestiary) I wanted to give digital technology back its pelt. To bring the bestial and the messiness of the world back into the realm of digital technology; to continue my work in grounding the digital experience in the material realm.

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