(image) Stelarc, drawing for Parasite – Event for Invaded and Involuntary Body, 1997, performance with robot arm, VRML, internet interaction, and sound.
ENTRY 1: SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far
Haraway (2013) writes with a bouncing, relentless kind of momentum, frequently she should have lost me but I can grab on to what she is saying somehow. Haraway beckons unusual thought, merging of fantastic worlds with the Earthly fantastic. As a true scientist she is trying to cross the boundary of creativity and the sometimes certain coldness of science. There seems to be a big focus on innovation in contemporary society, scientific industry is increasingly seeing creative applications. Even Turnbull called for innovators, naturally the ones he is calling for are science students from upper-middle class families who can afford to take business risks, but perhaps it is a step in the right direction. Since my childhood I remember bipedal robots and the posthuman application, prosthesis, people moving robot arms with their thoughts etc. Haraway (2013) speaks of Science Fiction writing, and how it adopts everything, William Gibson, one of my favourite authors certainly does this. He uses quick chapters and direct language, where you absolutely suspend disbelief as the technologies and concepts he invents and writes about are in some way rooted in reality. Irony is, as a cyber-punk author, Gibson is said to be computer illiterate. Does that matter though? His ideas alone could preemptively predict or inspire new technologies or ways of life, whilst at the same time being influenced themselves by patterns in nature and life. Haraway (2013) is very interested in the transdisciplinary, the speculative use of adventurous ideas, toying with the idea of the tentacular, a weird merging of adoptive biology and lateral thinking.
ENTRY 2: Metamorphosis
Kafka’s book has always provoked a sense of melancholy for me, the fear of something different and the transformation into a burden says a lot about human nature. It is hard to jump to direct metaphoric conclusions but I have always seen the book as a comment on capitalism and family, even though that is a bit cliche. I picture the world of Metamorphosis (1915) in neutral colours, washed out browns and greys, a rusted noir kind of aesthetic. Almost like a John Brack painting. This book links to Haraway’s (2013) writing in that it asks us to understand the other, to embrace the other, to adapt, both authors have hugely different agendas and backgrounds, yet there is that link.
This week has shown the responses creatives and scientists, and indeed both, have to problem solving and adapting new modes of living. There are dark undertones, like warnings but also a call to action that could be identified in Hayden Fowler’s work or even Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1915). The solid message I got from these topics is as Haraway (2013) encourages, ‘we need to think’, continuing on exponential growth and modeling infinite profit on a finite world is without any doubts going to be the end of us, or more importantly, the end of most or all life on the planet. So how do we do this? The sense of hopelessness can be great, a working class student/artist is weak in the capital obsessed world. I see scientists working creatively, or collaboratively with artists, or artists working scientifically, I also see a need for total culture shock, swift abandonment of fossil fuels and consumerism for something sustainable, maybe ancient or unusual, but something that can contain a future.
Haraway, D 2013, ‘SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far’, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, no. 3, viewed 15 September 2016, <http://adanewmedia.org/2013/11/issue3-haraway/>.
Kafka, F 1915, Metamorphosis, trans. D Wyllie, Project Gutenberg, viewed 15 September 2016, <https://www.gutenberg.org/files/5200/5200-h/5200-h.htm>.