he Reasonable Cyborg takes as a given that technology, no matter how powerful, is instrumental to naked human intention. Some RCs may grant that it is possible for naked humans, through inattention, laziness or lack of insight to cede their agency to technological processes. They may advocate that Cyborgs periodically unplug from technology enough to disrupt habits that reinforce this agency cessation. They may suggest various strategies to better manage the incursions into human agency technology may make including various forms of meditation or mindfulness, or simply taking a walk in places they like to designate as Nature.
The speculative turn here can lead me to omit from my discussions the high quality blogging I read by more Reasonable Cyborgs. I call them reasonable not because I necessarily agree with each of them, but because of their approach. Generally, a Reasonable Cyborg writes in a continuum from an informed illustration of a trend to a contribution meant to help to solve the challenge the ubiquitous coding of earth presents.
For the most part, they are doing something different from me, but their work is relevant here, covering ground I mostly neglect. Reasonableness goes beyond mere practicality, to include a vision of the human/technology relationship quite different from what I discuss here.
I have conceptualized here the cyborg in Haraway-ian fashion, as hybrid of the human and the cybernetic, the machinic, the algorithmic. I have suggested that these partners to the human have a kind of agency that left unexamined is likely to lead to humans misunderstanding their relationship with the machinic. I have let Prof Haraway speak for herself in cautioning against “the solace of human exceptionalism”.
Somehow this seems still a half measure. Somehow the human almost always seems the senior partner in the hybridization. The cell phone, the internet of coffee makers, cars, consumer artifacts of every description, the vast extractive enterprises leveling mountains for a few tons of gold, rare earth metals, copper, the semi-autonomous war machines, manufacturing complexes seem somehow, even with a rampant speculative turn here, augmentation. That is augmentation to the vivid subjet-ivity of human consciousness which experiences each iteration of the machinc as individual, driving nothing from their networked existence, existing only as cell phone, coffee makers, extraction and manufacturing. Continue reading “The Nomadic Cyborg”
The Haraway-ian cyborg, the blending, overlapping, the hybridization of the human and the machine-ic, specifically the information, cybernetic, algorithmic machines that are not extensions of human capabilities but partners/competitors of the human, companion species like the wolf/dog our best friends and worst mythic nightmares, that cyborg, as a matter of course, creates not only the architecture/space of the snail’s shell, the open fire warmed architecture of the cave, the intentionalized architecture/space of the hut, tent, cabin, cathedral, and split level suburban house, that cyborg also creates the Code Space of data based architecture-alized information interacting with the cascading contextualization/de-contextualizations, the cascading structure/ruin makings, of cascading algorithms that create in turn, companion, non-Euclidean spaces of curved surfaces and intersecting parallel lines enabling the fractal formation of discontinuous voids and firewalls that simultaneously house and expose the cyborg. Continue reading “Cyborgs in Space”
Taken as an invitation to geopoetry, the effort to rename the current geological epoch from Holocene to Anthopocene is also an invitation to speculate, to forgo in Donna Haraway’s phrase, “the solace in human exceptionalism”. In the space opened by such a turn, perhaps a glimmer of something else can form, perhaps as she suggests, an ethical reworlding. Continue reading “The Geopoetic Cyborg”
Since 1998 the digital magazine Edge has asked a question to a variety of accomplished people designed to contribute to discussions about issues facing humanity. The overall project of Edge is to promote a “third culture” which “consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.”
Edge generally poses these questions in a way open to a very wide net of interpretations and provocations. This year’s question is:
Every photograph is an illustration of Zeno’s Paradox. By seeming to frame time with the release of the shutter, the photograph seems to frame time as infinitely divisible into moments, into halfway points between an infinitude of 2 other points. Whether starting or ending with starting or ending, the infinitude of these points prevents the possibility of starting or ending.
People have noticed something like this about photography pretty much as soon as its invention. The specificity of the moment and subject of a photograph contrasts with its potential infinitude of meaning and authorship. Even more, this aspect of photography provides a snapshot of the paradox of art in a disenchanted, rationalized age. Continue reading “The Paradox of Photography”