Thursday, 30 December 2010

visiting: post-human, radical-human

I've decided to name the posts about current research 'visiting'.
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Here are a few initial  notes on how I might begin to define ‘posthuman’ and ‘radical human’ in relation to my research (or the ‘post-human’ and ‘radical-human’).

the  radical-human/ the post-human and how they become apparent in the practices I am looking at:
in order to be ‘more-than’ human do we need to be ‘post’ human?
in order to be ‘post’ human we need to be ‘more-than’ human.
does post human = fully human and always ‘more than human’ or always ‘human +’
or always ‘human together with’/ ‘because of’?

is this ‘more than’ or ‘+’ or ‘together with’ the ‘radical’ part – the way of change and radical engagements with the world?

acknowledge that etymological root of radical is ‘go back to the root’
also, look further at the definitions of radical in relation to mathematics and chemistry
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In order to recognise the presence of the body in the definition of the posthuman, Hayles (in her book How We Became Posthuman, 1999) suggests “ not that the body has disappeared but that a certain sort of subjectivity has emerged.”(193). Her version of this subjectivity is one that exists at the “crossing of the materiality of informatics and the immateriality of information” (198). Sara Jane Bailes, in her book Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure (2010) also talks about newly emerging subjectivity in relation to experimental performance practice:

If aesthetic acts can expand our sense of perception as Jacques Ranciere (2006) suggests, then we should become aware of the significance of how such acts can induce novel forms of political and social subjectivity. (xx)

To continue her discussion about subjectivity Hayles then explores the term embodiment and finds this a valuable term for an extended understanding of  the meaning of ‘posthuman’:

Experiences of embodiment, far from existing apart from culture, are always imbricated within it. Yet because embodiment is individually articulated, there is also at least an incipient tension between it and hegemonic cultural constructs. Embodiment is thus inherently destabilising with respect to the body, for at any time this tension can widen into a perceived disparity. (197)
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