List of references:
The posthuman, Rosi Braidotti
Mirrorshades, edited by Bruce Sterling
The cyborg manifesto, Donna Harraway
Body machine, Deleuze & Guattari
Vibrant matter, Jane Benett
Her, Spike Jonez
Ex-Machina, Alex Garland
Tetsuo the iron Man, Shinya Tsukamoto
" The inhumane nature of the artistic object consists of a combination of non-functionalism and ludic seductiveness. This is precisely what the surrealists meant by the 'bachelor machines' - an idea that Deleuze and Guattari adopted and transformed in the theory of 'bodies without organs' or a-functional and un-organic frames of becoming. Art, not unlike critical philosophy, is for Deleuze an intensive practice that aims at creating new ways of thinking, perceiving and sensing Life's infinite possibilities (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994). By transposing us beyond the confines of bound identities, art becomes necessarily inhuman in the sense of non-human in that it connects to the animal, the vegetable, earthy and planetary forces that surround us. Art is also, moreover, cosmic in its resonance and hence posthuman by structure, as it carries us to the limits of what our embodied selves can do or endure. " the posthuman p.107
Captain EO is an American 3D science fiction film from 1986 starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1996. By the time it came out, it was groundbreaking because it was a 3D movie, and even used 4D effects inside the cinema.
The film is taking place in an imaginary place in outer space, where Captain EO, played by Michael Jackson, is flying around with his ragtag crew in a spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to "The Supreme Leader" (actress anjelica Huston), who lives in a dystopian, dark world of rotting, twisted metal and steaming vents. She looks like an archetype of ”the evil” character in Disney movies. With no further obstacles, EO uses his power to transform The Supreme Leader’s warriors, into colorful dancers, who together with Michael Jackson begin to dance a choreography that resembles a typical Michael Jackson’s music video. After the dance Captain EO turns the Supreme Leader into a beautiful woman, and her surroundings into a peaceful Greek temple. The moral of the film is that the planet once again becomes a beautiful paradise, where technology is replaced by nature.
In the end a celebration breaks out to "Another part of me", as Captain EO and his crew triumphantly exit and fly off into space.
Donna Haraway’s cyborg
Donna Haraway wrote her notorious essay ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ around the same time as Captain EO was produced. The concept of Haraway’s cyborg manifesto is to dissolve the distinction between natural life and artificial man-made machines; this implies a rejection of rigid boundaries, notably those separating humans from animal and humans from machines.
The Supreme Leader In Captain EO has parallels to Haraway’s Cyborg figure, being a creature in the post-gender world. – While her/its voice is very feminine, its body has a machine-like masculinity, and her body below the waist consists just of cables. Haraway writes ”the cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust” .
Micahel Jackson as cyborg
It seems no surprise that Michael Jackson, being an Afro-American coming from an unprivileged background in Gary, Indiana, became one of the world’s first cyborgs. Michael Jackson wanted to be a successful musician, and sadly realized that he would have to change his outer appearance in order to be accepted by the mainstream audience.
He was by the time Captain EO was produced already the laboratory product of modern, medical science and technology. He transcended conventions in relation to race and gender, by becoming increasingly whiter and more feminine in his appearance. Besides manipulations of his facial- and bodily features, laboratory drugs as well were increasingly influencing his brain, making him resemble the cybernetic organism.
One could ask whether Michael Jackson, in the role as Captain EO, is contradicting his own cyborg-nature, by transforming the supreme leader into a beautiful woman, and transforming her world into a fertile paradise? Donna Haraway writes: ”…a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint Kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints. The political struggle is to see from both perspectives at once because each reveals both dominations and possibilities unimaginable from the other vantage point.”
Michael Jackson was famous for using his idea of utopia in his art, such as the case in Captain EO, where he turns the Supreme Leader, who is “hideous” and “caught in the darkness”, into a beautiful Woman. Donna Haraway on the other hand argues for the utopian potential of the Cyborg: ”cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves… Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess”.
the book The Posthuman by Rosi Braidotti, is the starting point of our research for this blog.
The Posthuman, suggests redefining our perception of ourselves as humans, which is primarilly dominated by the ideal of the white, strong, young and male human, who is unquestionably on the top of the hierarchy in the world. Visually especially manifested in Leonardo da Vinci´s Vitruvian man; an iconic image well embeded in human consciousness and therefor an adequate illustration of the above described human ideal.
Posthumanism questions the notion of duality between humans and nature, human and animals and even humans and machines. Feminist Academic Donna Harraway suggests that there is no “natural”. We are all cyborgs, in the sense that we are all “theorised and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism”. Our bodies integrate with technology all the time: medicine, artificial limbs and organs, vehicles, sex toys, communications technology, especially the internet. Biological models no longer apply. “The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the Oedipal project,” Haraway wrote. “The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust.”
Contradictory to the posthuman is a (narcissistic) human optimization, where one strives to be fitter, stronger, look younger and even manipulate appearance by means of f.x plastic surgery. The striving to optimize the body, is in line with individualistic thinking and linked to the neoliberal ideal where we don't just constantly strive to optimize the economy, but also our own bodies in order to optimize the optimization of the optimization etc.
One of the things we want to research in the context of this blog, is how the two directions in posthumanism described above are linked to capitalism, and how could they have the potential of being subversive to capitalism???
Rosi Braidotti about Advanced Capitalism
"a crisis occurs when sthg happen to a society, society body that don't know what it is, which is not coded, uncoded and threatened the society to dissolve the earth upon which the society is solves up"
NEW CODES EMERGING /Capitalism as Schizophrenia;
Process Ontology / Processes of decoding, overcoding, overlapping, recoding of the existing rules that construct our socio-economic sphere.
overlaping, overcoding, clashing, recoding, decoding
Multiple codes overlapping, overcoding
accounting for the multiplicity and the contradictory of the codes drives a bit crazy
but terms have to be used to grasp the complexity of capitalism
Multiplicity and complexity of the codes
difficulty with a 18ecentury thinking, to think contradictory, unlinear unlogic
Logical/Rational Languages, Linear
we still use normal language
Adv. Capitalism doesn't work like that; contradictory in itself
differing within itself, contradictory
understanding the decoding & recoding
suspend the linear decodable language of history
need to be looked at
challenge the rationality of the system
28:00 'eat and consume' / 'be healthy, thin and rich' --Schizophrenic Loop
Logic of excess
- Theorie of desire as a lack (Lacan), negative, never fullfiling, never enough, sthg u r mutilated from =addictive
"catching up with the temporality of the commodity"
// desire as fullfilment, plenitude; producing what you don't have; sharing instead of possessing
desiring fresh water instead of
confirm your place in a social order
similar with production of subjectivity
multiculturalism, emancipatory feminism are established in Capitalism
Multiple Subjectivity, disconnected of a liberators potential/understanding
Feminism was never just the quest for equality, but political subject who could make a difference in the world/ change smthg
Not only another consumer subject
the Other=element of change= in Marx-Hegelian understanding (dialectical system)
people marked as difference will make the difference expectation of transformation
Difference=make a difference=brings transformation
Now assimilated by Capitalism
differing as processes disengaged from the revolutionary subject
disengagment in the process of decoding and recoding
All that live is interesting for capitalism, holistic earth consideration.