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Beyond the Cyborg: Performance, attunement and autonomous computation

Authors:
  • Iceland University of the Arts

Abstract and Figures

Body technologies, such as prostheses and biosensors, are active means of lived experimentation: they enable forms of hybrid embodiment such as the cyborg, whose diverse representations by artists and performers have infiltrated our societal normative regime. To talk about body politics is therefore to talk about the technologies the body incorporates, how they probe its alleged integrity. Performance theories and practices offer a fertile ground of experimentation with this issue. Yet, there is a tendency to frame body technologies as either material extensions of one’s body or external objects one perceives with. Such approaches support technocratic systems of beliefs by eliding immaterial and pre-conscious aspects of technological incorporation, I argue. Key to this argument is the notion of automaticity; a subjective form of psychic attunement with particular technical instruments. The performativity of certain bodily thresholds enables forms of human–machine codependence, where body and technology affect each other through discipline, training and relational economies of desire. As a case study, I offer an autoethnographic analysis of my own performance with an artificially intelligent body technology. This reveals an inherently hybrid and relational corporeality, which confounds the boundaries between human and technical, material and immaterial, perceptual and psychological, conscious and pre-conscious.
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
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!
"

/!01 2!!/
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2
 !   "  !  1  1
5"       ! 6
1" " 178 1
#9" 9
"!6"# ": 
  5"6#;! 
5<5="1
6#>"""" 
"?" "!@#A
 B=1  "6"
#" 1   )
"!6: "!
#2!@: "
  6 "  6  78   # 
1"!6 
6   !   ! ""  "!
"?#
AC;D%E>
B" BB: B"
2 M. Donnarumma
@
15" " #@ 
 "1178 !
6""#""
   69  .'F  ? .F 6    
"! "     "#  
1?"6:  6
 ?6 ! 6 !  !  78
1 "  " " <#D
9 " "G6
H1 6
5   ""
6#""!@! 
 " 66   
?#
2 I J6 .,*  > *! @      ?
K<# LM6
"""!"6 
6  6    "    >9  '#  J        6  
"    1 78  ! 6
  =            >9  #  J6  
    "    "  1
78G 19"!
699?>9!'A!#
=:  1" 
5"#@ 16! K< 9#
5"  " 
"961#9 !
!1#
DK!<5 6"  
B!666LM#@
16!          "  =!      "  
!          "!   6    "
!6678 I6#
16""
="78<696#E!@
3 M. Donnarumma
6"96"51" 
" #N"96
5""" "
  #  16"  6   @    6 
" "#@@" 66
 !"6"
1  6" #@78
 6 69!61!  "
"" 6  #"!""
"!@69"  #
" ?" 78 ?
?78 178#N 
"1A!.F1178"
 !6 ""9N
6!..*! ""J6!.,*!!!
O9!6" 9?>9!#@
 " 6 ! 1 9      ""  1
"" I78 #C 
!1!
6""?
1    15  "?      ?  
# !"
  ""!    6    1 
#""!6@ 6! "?
 ?"" 6: 
#  @                      
"! 5"! "   "B  
"  6  5"!  "!          6    
#@16!"! !
"6 9669
" 1"!6JH"96#
  6#N!@"
785 ""5"
11!!"!"!#A
 !=1  "!!6
"#@"  
4 M. Donnarumma
=PP"15""#"" 1 
6 " "!    6 !       
!"15"!6
  =   " #   
!!""!
 #"178 " 6
!@5" 178
  6 "      F# 2     I    
"6  "6
      "  # @  ?
 ! @  !   "!"  1
 1!1#/
 !@ 96
   "    6  6    
" ""#
2
2"!@6: 6 ?<
?"#?.F-'5"7869 
<91 "!"<9#N
?!95="6#E!
 "  9  "  # 9  
  " !!6
!!"1
"!1 #!911
" 6""""1#5"
" 1"!?.F-*)-F1#@
16!6" 6 6!
=1" "!""#E!
"661 "!""1
1  1# J6K: 11<?
.F-F5"1#!6
"6"78
1" 6 #" =1
": 1#"!
"1 9!: 16#J
 5"""
789#
5 M. Donnarumma
@" =PP"1!..-78?"16
66"166 " 
 " 6  6 " # > 1  
    "  "  H "   !
    H  : #  ..- .
6!!=PPK
"6"<#N5"!1"  
""!<6781"1"#
2!"6#@"! 1
1" "H 
": !..-,#@6!1 
78" I""6K<!
#N!:  ""
=" <6#2
H! "  78   " 1 " 
:   6# %          "    
"#@!9""
 I6:    16 #
<  16  61!     1       
"61 #D
     LM 6 " <
"   < 9#    ? "!
1      ?            6    78
"!!"6  5"#
="#@6"78
H !  !    6  
:  5"#E1!
1LM! I
#
 ! "  6   5   !
""!#2 I
"""!  
"#@" " 1!6
!6 I 
"""  #@ 6JHF16
?!" 6!
"6"?
6 M. Donnarumma
)  "!: 1
" 1#@69
 "   6 "  6  78 
" # N 6! @ 6   "9   
"#29-!"65
"!"11 #>78
"1  "11!"
"789 #9  69 >
>,.F!6DQ<"J1# 
 ? 6 "1   >< 6 96 69  
6?15" BK  
1R###S5?" <9-'#2
1    5"!  >    >          
5"  6!"  " 
6 "# 2 6  "   "  96 
6"!6 "6
"#D"!5"1
!1#@ 
1!"
16=6 #J61!=
6 15"5"!
=#" 1"#2>>
,.F!   "   6   
11"! ?"" !
#
@:786"6>><5" 
6=PP<5" 1#
"!
 K < >  > ,.F -..# D 
" !  !  1    K
<! 78 ?1#
   B !   6!   
6"""
" 1 =   # N   51!
1!5" 
5" 6 # "  ?"!  " 
5"6
7 M. Donnarumma
 61"#%T66
  #
1#D5169!
1 LM 6<": 
H#
  "1        ""  ?
" # "6
  "178 "      1
5"#@""  ? ?
  "  6          5#  (1    ?
+5!+"!1+"!+)
 #       I    "! 
"!  #% ! " 
"1 "78 "  " 5"   9
5" !@ =PP"1#%!
!" 1 5"?66
6=1  "
?5""5"# 
 ?""!!5!
"78# !  9 "  5" 
" #"  6 !
?!!1 #
=PP"1K1<"196"B
6K"9<66#1
"  1  "  6        #  2  "  6
!" "#>!6 " 
""G
&:
"? ! I6!?:  
1!""!16#
; H "
 ?1"78" #J@6
" <"!6
! !"#D""1
1116!6"69: LM
8 M. Donnarumma
 6   "   #'   69    H!
  !  ?  "   " ! "
!  #  69 "  9 5 
6"  "
#  "    6 "    
#1!"" LM6
 #J!@""K"<
 6! #E
7851!"7819
"6@"" 1 1#-
N#! 1" !NF# %9N78#
"@" 6  6 I6#6
6     ""     "
": #" 
1 #* 
  !   I6     " "
1!F "#@ 
"!  "  < 6 " 
"""#61
      1  6#  /!    "    6 
9 M. Donnarumma
""9"!""
"1"" 1"#
"  "
" T  ? 9 #
@"!" @ #J!@
                "!        
" ?""#
! 1!      "  " 
=1#@" !
    "  " T 1!  ! 6 
1!6  "" !66
 1  "     " T1# @ 
6!"5"78!5
16?1?" T1#@
1" 6:  
""" " T1#
""1"
1#6@1"1"!!"9
""#@!"
"" <#N
6 9 "!
 9  ?#      " 
5""9 "B!
6!" 5"6 #6 5
66"16" 16
"!@16"#
!78!!"
1 LM""#
>=PP"16!9 " H
65" ""!
"  1  6    " " # 09
"61!"
 5 11 1# D @     " 1
6"5!@!!
"!" #@
 I6"#@
10 M. Donnarumma
" " ! 6  !"
 1#9   #@
1" "6? #2
     "  "#F "  -    
""6 "6 
     "# C!    "  !
""!"1??
?: <6#: !"1!
6: : #E9#6
9 !"
" : 6 K<#
 : 9""9 " 
#6" !
<11# 
#!"
1"#@9""1!
1 : "1!" "
""#@" !
6#""#E!
615"6!6"?
?" ": #6@
?  78      !          
"6  6:  
: #
@ !"6 B
 "  !1#
: 5" 5"1" "
! 11! 5" 5"1 " "
#!" "" 
6=1B"6"#%
!  "     =1! B  
1@" #6!
61!"78 " "
#?"1!  "6
=1"!5
: 1#: 5 ?
11 M. Donnarumma
    69 ?# D ?
1  " 1 : 11      
78"!:786
==#@!": : 
!"! 
" 66 "? 
6#"6
==!6 "!"!1!
   "96#
2" 5" " " #@
 6! @ 6   "   6   
"66" ! 
#2 " !"9
#@ "#2&C"LM
#6 "9
 "      9! ! !   # @ 
 "!9LM"
6LM#@6 "9
LM" 16#2
 " 6#
#16"5
@ I96 I9"#21
 5 78#
"B""!
@ #
2"!@"78LM I9
""#916 B
96 #1
#@15"
#@#1"
9516"1@#"
!"9 !@?9#
J!1" 1
# 2       1""  
H"#2 I6!"
911"!
12 M. Donnarumma
6! 9"# 
9 #"@9"
" " "#@1!
  1 #  !  99 
6" LM"99 #2 I
!@9  LM#@  5 
6! I61"" 
LM#!6 6 I
 78#@" 6
78" "#
N # !  1" !NF#66#
 %(0AN78#
J!@9"LM!6#
9"! @"
'#9 1
 9"9 #2@1
9 6 6!"6 H 
6 !6"1""
#"78"LM!
<!6" #2@ 6
H!@"1
13 M. Donnarumma
16  !66
 "#,2@!1!@
9!"
: # N -   "9! " 
#
2"!""" 
" 1# " 1 1@ 1 
        "  I  
: "#
       " " 6 9 " 
 "#DK<@" 
 #99"  ""6
LM#6!661 6#
9!#D
""7865#
<"LM
"!LM"
 LM?6"11
9#2" I: "H6 !
 9   9 "    <
#2 
" <! B1
? ""9 
78#2! "" 6
 1!116!!LM66
1! 9"#9 
"6 ! ""#
 78! "       LM  ! 
"1     "1 "!   
78#
J6""99G
66 
1  #@1
"!78!
!!": 9
14 M. Donnarumma
#21!" !H"
 : 1 @5"
!"78"!
1 5"1  : 1 1# J61!  6    
!" #2!  6 
 "#@"6"15
="1!" 
5?"#2!B
6"D...!1 <6
"!785#
D"5"!
11 : #.@" ! !"78!
"6 5"1#
 "     6 @    1  
 !1"#@6!6
6" !"!6
78" !5#
" !1 61
#2" <! 
"" !  1 78 :78  78 6  "
 " 11#@ !"
#
"  ! =PP"1!
6  " ! "  : 1 H
#"196 
: 1 "   #  ""  6  
!H 1: 1!1#"
"166LM!!!
LM!  !  "9    6      5"  !  !
1"!!5# !
"6": : #
! !1 ?#N!
"6#N
" !       "    
"66#!
6!6: : #@!
15 M. Donnarumma
!!H"!
 #" : 11
  1      !   " 
"#@!"9 78!
 " 6         1!
"1#
" "        
 "1#" K< !
5LM"9   "#"78
78!9 "?""!"
1    "  # D @  6 K?"<   
"       1
"#!5" "
? "   6# 2 !  ! 9
#6""!
! #2! >>,.F6
    6 " !   "    11 
   1 "  "  <6
#@"""!: #D!
"!
" !  : 5"
 "! H9 "" 6 #  ""   
"!66 !"1
5?"#@   =PP "1 6 " 6  !    
78K1<!..-#2 K"<
""K !: !"<
9!-#E"!
6   C! F  1!   "5
     !     #
!"""1 
"!95=#"1
"<#@"15?" 6""
"<   ! ! ?"
 "# @  "" @      ?  
""!6 ?
" ""#@!"
16 M. Donnarumma
 9     5"   5"  
5"1H 5"#61
"#1!9!!1
: ! 6##
J"1K<#@!
       I "1  #
>1695"!"
;!   %1  >P!  LM 
  <0  9  "19  #  "" "
9  5" C?2
""!1!"
 96#;?"
  6  ?
   !  6  6        !  
1!H1 !!""!961!11
# #9G
%!": ! K<G
H1"11!" 161
 !  ! ""    ?  
#@16!?" : LM
  K<K<#@78?
15" 9 ! ! #
@6""78
"#            ""    6  K<!    6
! " 6 "!   # 2 " 6   1 
  ""#  ? +?! +!
+?1"1 < "
!!   #6#"
"!     6   " ! 
5"  6          11    
5" #
(
1. > >6< 69  " "1!6  
"    6    U  
17 M. Donnarumma
"1 "1  "6  "B
96?6 "11
" "#
2. D  Q  6      2  ""    "!
96 ""1 " 
"1  #
3. 2 1!   " 6  69
>96""66?
#
4. 2   "  1 
"++#+69+"?+!  6      
 "++666##+6G1V('9?,#
5. @  "!       96    !      
#  78  9
5!!9*  
#
6. K<""!J<#@
  :  5"  D ""  J! 5!
  D!      69 >!  6 
P   /!   #  !      (6
$"=1" #
7. @66"   6
"96 5"#J61!
" : 6" 78
"#
8. !#
9. " 1:  #D5
18 M. Donnarumma
H!78116
"".1'#N
LM"5 1>P
>"*#
10.         1 ? !
!"!61""
"#  >        69   9?>9 F  
"-!6J6'6K""<
/?"#
11. 5 91#N
9=65"#
E
!2##WEDN#X@$%&'
(!/A9"!-,?*,#&E#
!N#..-# $)**'$ +#!@&
01 #
!&# '# W N  /H   #X 
.F)-#
9!&##,-'"!.!#&>
#
YYY# -# W@! 2: 1! C5" Z >  N?
#X$*)#
6! Q# # W@"1  C" @   
@"1C?2#X!(6B>901 C
2BE@ #
1 M. Donnarumma
5!  "!    !    2  9#  *#  W0
/C5"1>#X$/0
F')'F#
!       A!  (  ># .F#      "# 2!
>"#
"!$# -# W D   N 2"?O?/#X
,&12&?')'-#
!#F# W78 "  ! $
(6@#X!/!01 &#
YYY##W%"#X@%3+!
CE9!F'?,'#&>"#
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1" >"C5" #X@$0).
 .!2A#C!(!Q#N1
EE#J: !F,')'#(6;901#
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-$.5&>#
/!2##WEC#X,&12&-)#
J6! # .,*# W2     >! !  >
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!@&9#
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YYY## 2,-'(822&!$9-!:&
;65&#
2 M. Donnarumma
A! E# # W K078< >=      
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,**)#
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#
!#.'F#&H"#&![[[@@'?-'F')',F#
?!#.F#5C6$E#
9?>9! Q ## &$'4$
#&1#
9?>9! Q # F# W?2  %   "  
KJ<#X$*,-F-.)FF,#
1!>#'#+:,&#@#
>P>!(!>"!#*#+'.&$
#&1#
>9!# # .& ' .6<2#
&>#
YYY# '# WE?@ C ! >""  #X
2'),F#
>!  #  *# $  ,&    !  $  1  2&#  &  >
#
>9!$1# #W&1 K&< %  
@#X,&12&F'*)F#
>!  &  !    /  >#  ,.F#  W(    2#X
3 M. Donnarumma
&(+6'-.)*#
$! @! E"=# # 6' +61-#
22!@%"J#
D!/#...#,&-'.=&#&E#
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#&2#
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"  ! ! ?"   1
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... Corpus Nil has as a goal in building a hybrid between body and technology, an "amorphous cluster of skin, muscles, hardware and software" [22]. The final objective is to represent what he calls "amalgams of technology and flesh where a particular body incorporates a particular instrument" [23]. Donnarumma builds upon Merleau-Ponty's theories regarding musical instruments, in which a lack of familiarity with a new piece opens up a frame for an instrumentalist to give purpose and emotional context to the physical performance of the instrument (aka technique), in opposi-tion to merely engaging in an exercise of automatic memory [24]. ...
... To achieve this, Donnarumma mainly uses full shots in the video (see Figure 4), carefully centered to capture in full what the artist desires a spectator to see. The lighting effectively transforms the performer's body into a "cluster of skin," generating fullycalculated strong emotional reactions: "Hybridity tends to be perceived as unsettling or dismissed altogether as abnormal" [23]. These emotions are enhanced by the video, in which it is possible to appreciate how Donnarumma "downgrades" his own body from a real person to an object of "perceived human likeness" (aka into the uncanny valley) [27] using technology. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Video documentation of sound art pieces has been largely used as a way to promote/preserve a work of art displayed in a specific moment and place. In most cases, it attempts to show different aspects of the piece, such as the audience engaging with a particular work. However, it is often overlooked that the interaction documented in this context is not merely limited to the physical contact between a member of the audience and a piece. Interaction also entails the influence of diverse social affordances and distinct "vital forces" involved in the human-nonhuman aesthetic interplay. This paper examines those elements and reflects on how video documentation of a sound art piece presents a curated version of these forces in communion, going beyond the mere purpose of preserving the work. With this in mind, an artist can consciously select the degree of dialogue between human and non-human actors displayed in the video, engaging them in an artistic decision: creating an extension of the piece.
... This approach underpinned by simplifying and simplified dichotomies both reflects and petrifies the binary standpoint. Perhaps a shift from an extension perspective to an incorporation one is required in the debate (Donnarumma, 2017). This approach is visible in the way Corpus Nill transgresses from the "external" to "internal" to view a cyborg as an assemblage or even a unity. ...
... This approach underpinned by simplifying and simplified dichotomies both reflects and petrifies the binary standpoint. Perhaps a shift from an extension perspective to an incorporation one is required in the debate (Donnarumma, 2017). This approach is visible in the way Corpus Nill transgresses from the "external" to "internal" to view a cyborg as an assemblage or even a unity. ...
Book
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The volume Crossing the Border of Humanity: Cyborgs in Ethics, Law, and Art features contributions that explore various aspects of cyborgs in philosophical, bioethical, and legal discourses as well as in artistic projects. The goal of this volume is to offer a place for a passionate interdisciplinary debate on the dimensions of the cyborg and the process of cyborgization that we are witnessing in the 21st century. By presenting this volume to readers, we aim to blur the borders between human (mind and flesh) and machine, as well as to cross the boundaries of various disciplines (professions) and passions (e.g., hobbies) of art, science, technology, law, and humanities. By pointing out its multidimensional character, we wish to provide a forum for mutual inspirations.
... The usefulness of Vrengt's shareability to the overall aesthetics can be discussed in terms of the unity of two bodies and two machines. This relates to how Marco Donnarumma conceptualizes human-machine embodiment as "a form of hybrid corporeality where experience, psyche, materiality and technics are always in tension against each other" [6]. A natural outcome of this hybrid embodiment is an intimate, bodily knowledge of each other at the boundary between cognitive vs unconscious. ...
Preprint
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This paper describes the process of developing a shared instrument for music-dance performance, with a particular focus on exploring the boundaries between standstill vs motion, and silence vs sound. The piece Vrengt grew from the idea of enabling a true partnership between a musician and a dancer, developing an instrument that would allow for active co-performance. Using a participatory design approach, we worked with sonification as a tool for systematically exploring the dancer's bodily expressions. The exploration used a "spatiotemporal matrix", with a particular focus on sonic microinteraction. In the final performance, two Myo armbands were used for capturing muscle activity of the arm and leg of the dancer, together with a wireless headset microphone capturing the sound of breathing. In the paper we reflect on multi-user instrument paradigms, discuss our approach to creating a shared instrument using sonification as a tool for the sound design, and reflect on the performers' subjective evaluation of the instrument.
... The practice of biophysical music focuses, instead, on designing ways and tools through which the physical and physiological properties of a performers body are interlaced with the material and computational qualities of the electronic instruments, with varying degrees of mutual influence. Through this method, which I term human-machine configuration [20], musical expression arises from an intimate and, often, not fully predictable negotiation of human bodies, instruments, and programmatic musical ideas (an anthology of biophysical music projects can be viewed in [19]). ...
Preprint
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This article presents a five-year collaboration situated at the intersection of Art practice and Scientific research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). At the core of our collaborative work is a hybrid, Art and Science methodology that combines computational learning technology -- Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) -- with interactive music performance and choreography. This article first exposes our thoughts on combining art, science, movement and sound research. We then describe two of our artistic works \textit{Corpus Nil} and \textit{Humane Methods} -- created five years apart from each other -- that crystallize our collaborative research process. We present the scientific and artistic motivations, framed through our research interests and cultural environment of the time. We conclude by reflecting on the methodology we developed during the collaboration and on the conceptual shift of computational learning technologies, from ML to AI, and its impact on Music performance.
... The usefulness of Vrengt's shareability to the overall aesthetics can be discussed in terms of the unity of two bodies and two machines. This relates to how Marco Donnarumma conceptualizes human-machine embodiment as "a form of hybrid corporeality where experience, psyche, materiality and technics are always in tension against each other" [6]. A natural outcome of this hybrid embodiment is an intimate, bodily knowledge of each other at the boundary between cognitive vs unconscious. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes the process of developing a shared instrument for music-dance performance, with a particular focus on exploring the boundaries between standstill vs motion , and silence vs sound. The piece Vrengt grew from the idea of enabling a true partnership between a musician and a dancer, developing an instrument that would allow for active co-performance. Using a participatory design approach, we worked with sonification as a tool for systematically exploring the dancer's bodily expressions. The exploration used a "spatiotemporal matrix," with a particular focus on sonic microinteraction. In the final performance, two Myo armbands were used for capturing muscle activity of the arm and leg of the dancer, together with a wireless headset microphone capturing the sound of breathing. In the paper we reflect on multiuser instrument paradigms, discuss our approach to creating a shared instrument using sonification as a tool for the sound design, and reflect on the performers' subjective evaluation of the instrument.
... La dinámica de la performance y la presencia de la inteligencia artificial configurando un cuerpo híbrido, dificulta la distinción entre quién es el sujeto y el objeto de la acción, desplazando la capacidad de decisión del humano, al sistema (Donnarumma, 2017, 112-113). Según el propio autor, los logaritmos profanan el cuerpo, es decir atentan contra la pureza de este entendido como algo sagrado desde la perspectiva euro-americana (Donnarumma, 2017). Lo corpóreo, sometido a diversas dinámicas de poder, no sólo desde el punto de vista religioso o espiritual, se convierte desde el enfoque de la obra en algo híbrido, contrario al espíritu neoliberal que asume que el cuerpo es el altar de nuestra propia libertad y cuestiona este concepto asumiendo que el desarrollo de la inteligencia artificial, de mano de las grandes corporaciones, sólo subraya las dinámicas de poder. ...
Article
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Este artículo plantea una reflexión a través del arte de componente tecnocientífico y neomedial sobre la noción de singularidad tecnológica y sus trascendentales consecuencias para la humanidad. Revisando ciertos argumentos presentes en la ciencia ficción que sirven de inspiración para algunos artistas contemporáneos, conceptos como inteligencia artificial y la propia singularidad destacan y permiten discutir asuntos que recuperan las principales ideas presentes en las teorías posthumanistas, en los recientes avances en la biotecnología o las dimensiones políticas, espirituales y éticas de las diversas modificaciones que la tecnología puede obrar en la condición ontológica del ser humano. Analizando diversas obras artísticas, se muestra la capacidad de proyección de nuevos escenarios de debate que la combinación consciente entre arte y ciencia ficción posee. Este hecho refleja las preocupaciones y anhelos que la actual sociedad manifiesta en su relación vital con las tecnologías digitales.
Article
Formal and systemic boundaries can be problematic, for they easily become vehicles of normative attempts to polarize, enclose and isolate. A tactic that has high political currency today. This article elaborates on hybridity as methodology, expression and dynamic that can discard bodily and disciplinary boundaries in theatre and performance. Hybridity here will be discussed as a gale, an invisible and more-than-real current of affect, that reanimates the performer’s body, sweeps through non-human bodies and technological instruments, grazes the stage as if it was skin and shakes the physical and formal limits of theatre like bones. Such an investigation must however acknowledge the origin of the term hybridity in enforced miscegenation; from this viewpoint, hybridity is a mark of the systemic, racial violence that whiteness has exerted against other human beings in the name of the supposed universality and purity of the white subject. Hence, my argumentation takes up Sabine Broeck’s proposal to examine whiteness ‘as a white (wo)man’s burden’ and sets out to analyse performance strategies that efface the universality of whiteness through modes of hybridization. Weaving resources on intercorporeality, affect and abjection from feminist, disability and posthuman studies, the essay analyses the hybrid in three artistic practices that, in my view, negate the alleged impregnability of the white subject and affirm its vulnerability: the theatrical living sculptures of Olivier de Sagazan, the dance-less bodyscapes of Maria Donata D’Urso and my own human-machine configurations. An aesthetic and methodological analysis of these works reveal that the very notion of pureness is in itself a fiction, constructed to inhibit the development of a multiplicity of actions and expressions beyond, and within, the borders of dominant cultures.
Article
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Problem setting. The contemporary sociopolitical reality reflects high dynamics of the cultural development and features uncertainty, insecurity unexpectedness, transfer and fragmentation. These conditions transform the traditional views on social and political practices, revisiting individual understanding of identity. To describe cultural process peculiarities, social and humanitarian sciences actively use the performative approach, which allows researchers to focus on the underlying force of human actions and the way they generate cultural senses. While studying social and political actors a major theme is the phenomenon of masses, which testifies to significant changes in political discourse, in particular, the destruction of the traditional channels of political expression. Recent research and publications analysis. In today’s conditions of the crisis in interpretation there is a trend to go beyond the meaning and address trans-semiotic elements of the human existence. The process of rethinking the mankind discursive interpretation and sense genesis opens a way to corporeality theories that enable to reproduce subjective experience in the performative paradigm. The study of performatives and their potential to create socially and politically meaningful effects is a promising and insufficiently developed field of research. Paper objective. The research discusses the phenomenon of corporeality as a new practice of political self-expression within the performative approach. Paper main body. The study is devoted to the contemporary research into the problems of corporeality and its role in the political discourse. Structural and post-structural philosophy understands reality as a text and, respectively, focuses on the communicative role of the language and the interpretational nature of human-world relations. This semiotic discourse substitutes the sense with meaning. It was shown that the discourse approach, based on the link between the world and the language, interpretations, exchange of meanings and their production in the human world building does not consider the opportunities of the trans-semiotic experience. It was confirmed that the conceptualization of new political practices in the conditions of world rewriting by itself is a most important theme in the modern philosophy and it sets the task to search for new approaches to the issue of a political subject as an agent. It was demonstrated that one of these approaches emerges in the theory of performativity. Under the conditions of corporal communication a performance is the means of personality expression, the way to enter communication, which implies certain attitude and understanding from other communicators. The paper deals with the prospect of considering political issues, given in the performative paradigm and followed in the works by Judith Butler, and other researchers of the new political realm. It was particularly shown that the body as a discursive field always has a political perspective. Therefore, the work dwells on the concepts of gathering, power, precarity, democracy, justice, sources of corporeality politicization etc. It was emphasized that the phenomenon of going out into the street, caused by the vulnerability and dramatism of personal stories, requires considering such motives, and also reflecting on the conditions and ways of accepting political attitude on the whole. Conclusions of the research. The conventional political articulation is being replaced by the density of corporeality and performance, which is, in turn, becoming a new driver of political processes. One of the versions of the political subject is gathering unlike masses, parties and people. This approach outlines a broad field of research into the new political language for contemporary political practices.
Chapter
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Biophysical music is a rapidly emerging area of electronic music performance. It investigates the creation of unconventional computing interfaces to directly configure the physiology of human movement with musical systems, which often are improvisational and adaptive. It draws on a transdisciplinary approach that combines neuromuscular studies, phenomenology, real-time data analysis, performance practice and music composition. Biophysical music instruments use muscle biosignals to directly integrate aspects of a performer’s physical gesture into the human–machine interaction and musical compositional strategies. This chapter will introduce the principles and challenges of biophysical music, detailing the use of physiological computing for musical performance and in particular the musical applications of muscle-based interaction.
Thesis
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How to define the relationship of human bodies, sound and technological instruments in musical performance? This enquiry investigates the issue through an iterative mode of research. Aesthetic and technical insights on sound and body art performance with new musical instruments combine with analytical views on technological embodiment in philosophy and cultural studies. The focus is on corporeality: the physiological, phenomenological and cultural basis of embodied practices. The thesis proposes configuration as an analytical device and a blueprint for artistic creation. Configuration defines the relationship of the human being and technology as one where they affect each other's properties through a continuous, situated negotiation. In musical performance, this involves a performer's intuition, cognition, and sensorimotor skills, an instrument's material, musical and computational properties, and sound's vibrational and auditive qualities. Two particular kinds of configuration feature in this enquiry. One arises from an experiment on the effect of vibration on the sensorimotor system and is fully developed through a subsequent installation for one visitor at a time. The other emerges from a scientific study of gesture expressivity through muscle physiological sensing and is consolidated into an ensuing body art performance for sound and light. Both artworks rely upon intensely intimate sensorial and physical experiences, uses and abuses of the performer's body and bioacoustic sound feedback as a material force. This work contends that particular configurations in musical performance reinforce, alter or disrupt societal criteria against which human bodies and technologies are assessed. Its contributions are: the notion of configuration, which affords an understanding of human-machine co-dependence and its politics; two sound-based artworks, joining and expanding musical performance and body art; two experiments, and their hardware and software tools, providing insights on physiological computing methods for corporeal human-computer interaction.
Article
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Expressivity is a visceral capacity of the human body. To understand what makes a gesture expressive, we need to consider not only its spatial placement and orientation, but also its dynamics and the mechanisms enacting them. We start by defining gesture and gesture expressivity, and then present fundamental aspects of muscle activity and ways to capture information through electromyography (EMG) and mechanomyog-raphy (MMG). We present pilot studies that inspect the ability of users to control spatial and temporal variations of 2D shapes and that use muscle sensing to assess expressive information in gesture execution beyond space and time. This leads us to the design of a study that explores the notion of gesture power in terms of control and sensing. Results give insights to interaction designers to go beyond simplistic gestural interaction, towards the design of interactions that draw upon nuances of expressive gesture.
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How might we understand entanglements of the mind, brain, body and world? And how can we develop creative forms of experimentation to enact these entanglements? In this unique contribution, Blackman focuses upon the affective capacities of bodies, human and non-human as well as addressing the challenges of the affective turn within social sciences. Fresh and convincing, this book uncovers the paradoxes and tensions in work in affect studies by focusing on practices and experiences, including voice hearing, suggestion, hypnosis, telepathy, the placebo effect, rhythm and related phenomena. Questioning the traditional idea of mind over matter, as well as discussing the danger of setting up a false distinction between the two, this book makes for an invaluable addition within cultural theory and the recent turn to affect. In a powerful and engaging matter, Blackman discusses the immaterial body across the neurosciences, physiology, media and cultural studies, body-studies, artwork, performance, psychology and psychoanalysis. Interdisciplinary in its core, this book is a must for everyone seeking a dynamic and thought provoking analysis of culture and communication today.
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Digital Movement is about the evolving relationship between human movement and the technologically mediated process of motion study, particularly in terms of how, through digital media technology, human motion can be captured, rendered, animated, processed, analysed, computed, documented, archived, and through these and other iterations, it can ultimately be turned into an object of discourse and knowledge. Opening up relatively untheorized areas of study, the book argues that digital motion should refer not only to visual forms of capture (movement recomposed through still images), but also to high-level motion-sensor and depth-sensor based forms of capture, which constitute, as it were, a higher-dimensional language of motion analysis. The book then alludes to the ubiquitous technological sensation that is digital movement, as it proliferates through a plethora of sensing technologies. How can we construct meaningful interpretations of this tremendous volume of motion-data by using representative models that reveal the felt experience living deep within the data? How can we dig for movement meaning in the cultural and somatic landscape of technological design and use? This is an important study for all scholars and upper-level students of contemporary performance.