Günther Friesinger (AT) et al.

On our short, but intense future as cyborgs

ARGEkultur, hall | free admission

The figure of the cyborg has multilayered potential: political and social codes inscribed in it, not only as a fictional character or a vision of science fiction, but also as a realistic construct of future, transhumanist body designs. In media representation, depictions of fragmented bodies, beings with prosthetics or hybrid human-machine-designs span from monstrous and unsettling to powerful as well as likeable characters. It is not uncommon that an insight into processes of their construction shows a corrective function of society whenever our physical limitations or also gender can be transcended. The cyborg stirs our imagination about an “improved shell” and creates fantasies of a perfectly equipped body – a body that might be coded differently in relation to societal roles and gender stereotypes in the future. But also in science fiction and the history of film, interpretations of human-machine hybrids regarding real societal roles are changing, even though reality often lags behind the vision still. Not least because we can't quite identify with it yet – even though art and culture are playing with transhumanist (self-)designs now more than ever and even proclaim the era of the “post(-post)-cyborg”. However, the ethical implications concerning the growing acceptance of intersections between humans and machines are still unclear, as it becomes evident in the field of neuroprosthetics, for instance. The fact that athletes with exceptionally well-functioning prosthetics are not allowed to participate in the Olympics is exemplary for the distance we still keep to these hybrid body forms. We don't – yet – want to be Cyborgs then?

© Bergschaf Sasha Pseiner

Günther Friesinger is an artist, philosopher, curator and producer. He is the managing director of monochrom, chairman of the Quartier für Digitale Kunst und Kultur at the Museumsquartier, manager of the paraflows festival and producer of the Roboexotica festival. Friesinger teaches cultural management, production, social media and exhibition dramaturgy at various universities in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Main focus over the last years: open culture, context hacking, hackerspaces and robotics.