PERFORMING SPACES FOR CYBERNETIC ORGANISMS

22 02 2009

By JANA HORÁKOVÁ

The cybernetic term feedback loop has created prolific figure of cybernetic organisms (cyborgs) that spread over different cultural fields of our society during the second half of the 20th century. The term cyborg emerged in 1960s from a cybernetics discourse dealing with a feedback loop concept related to the problems of adaptation of human organisms to extreme external environmental contexts, (specifically to space exploration). Clynes and Kline, authors of the neologism cyborg described the subject of their research as a connection of human organism and machine system which will be an „…exogenously enlarged organizational complex unconsciously functioning as an integrated homeostatic system.“(Clynes,Kline, 1960:27).

As long as cybernetics and the successor disciplines (computer science, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics…) have focused more and more on interaction of man with information (digital) technologies – the problem of the adaptation of human beings to their external environment headed to the problem of an adaptation of the human -organism to the digital data-system conditions. Consequently, the terminal figure of the cyborg in the sense of human organism adjusted to data-environment would be “human information” (Wiener, 1954 :104). In other worlds, the feedback loop of human-machine interactivity in the context of the cyborg discourse leads to „human interface that disappeared“(Fisher, 1991:109).

The cyborg discourse approach is well illustrated in the paragraph on Phantom Body by Stelarc: “The body finds it increasingly difficult to match the expectations of its images. In the realm of multiplying and morphing images, the physical body’s impotence is apparent. The body now performs best as its image. […] What it means to be human is no longer the state of being immersed in genetic memory but rather in being reconfigured in the electromagnetic field of the circuit – in the realm of the image.”(Stelarc, 1994). The paragraph illustrates very well the recognizable domination of the notion of cyborg in the fields of the present days cyber-culture and media art.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements