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<eyebeam><blast> Artist Response

Jordan wrote:
>Interestingly, this gap is also being closed by making ICT wearable,
>attached directly to the body or inserted into the skin.  So at the 
>same time that biotech seeks to close the gap by building from the 
>cellular level upward, ICT advances from exterior computational systems 
>to bodily attachments and insertions, which augment sensorial and 
>perceptual processes (among others). 

I actually think that this is part of the problem. The current normaized
body cannot carry the proposed technological superstructure. For
example, the McDonnell-Douglas's Pilot's Associate is a pilot-machine
interface that feeds the pilot immediate information on mission
planning, tactics, system status, and situation assessment. It, of
course, has a fail-safe. The computer is trusted more than the pilot.
The computer is programmed to take control if the pilot is failing in
his mission (HAL 9000 is back). The organic infrastructure of the cyborg
has to be orgainically modified to close the gap--using techology to
prepare the organic for the technology is not going to work. 

>What is the role in this landscape for critical artistic practice?

Good question. I think this is a moment in which artists can do what
artists do best--mediate information in a manner that it yields new
perceptions and narratives. And I don't mean science fiction narratives;
I mean narratives that engage the real and the practical, and have
resonance in everyday life. Critical artists can bring the knowledge out
of the labs, and into the lives of nonspecialists. Then we can offer
fluid possibilities for interpretation of this knowledge (both applied
and theoretical).

The problem now is that the nonspecialist public does not have a clue
what is happening in the labs and clinics. The only regular intersection
between the general public discourse and specialized scientific
discourse is in the realm of ethics (the most impoverished and
reactionary of language systems). Artists can play a significant role in
developing an awareness about bio-tech, and languages with which to
speak about it critically. However, to accomplish these goals, artists
have some self-educating to do too.

Steve Kurtz

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