- Michelle Potter (2009): Thoughts on Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring
- Arati Prabhakar (2017): The merging of humans and machines is happening now
Cultural forcs compel us to stop seeing the human body as a given, ahistorical thing - it is transformed. Not just through fashion, how we present ourselves, but the body becomes a projection of far bigger changes happening around us.
[Tristan and Isolda 1910] Technically this is from the 20th century, but everything about it is 19th century. This is the scene where Isolde contemplates her dead lover and eventually dies herself (see also Wagner). Wagner’s Aria was thought to drive people insane - death, love and sex combined into a single climactic event. A passionate renunciation of life.
[1887: A clinical lesson at the salpetriere] This is a French researcher at a mental hospital who was studying hysteria. See also the arc in circle, which was considered the signature position for someone suffering from hysteria. Of course the idea of hysteria is political, related to how male medicine looks at the female body. This is from a time when mental illness was thought to come from some organ in the body - hysteria was thought to come from the womb.
Of course this is all nonsense. Freud says all this stuff (including the physical responses) are the result of repressed mental conditions.
The documentation of the woman having cramps is not dissimilar to
[Muybridge, Woman Dancing] Animal Locomotion. This is the first attempt to painstakingly document (against an x/y grid) the movement of the human body. Later, in America: Taylorism. He was trying to make the workplace more efficient: How many movements are needed to operate an adding machine, and how can it be optimized? With Taylor, bodies start to work together like a kind of machine.
[Frank Gilbreth motion studies 1913] The woman here is immaterial (she’s just a blur). What Gilbreth is interested in is the movement of the hands. Note also the grid in the background.
1913 is also the year of The Rite of Spring, which caused a huge scandal. The music was bad enough, but the ballet really pissed people off.
[1920: Powerhouse mechanic working on a steam pump] Biomechanics: Bodies and machines are scaled and synchronised to work together. Antonin Artaud (1932) made very little work, but wrote two manifestos on the theatre of cruelty.
There can be no spectacle without an element of cruelty as the basis for every show. In our present degenerative state, metaphysics must be made to enter the mind through the body.
Pina Bausch (1975), Rite of Spring.
[Elvis Presley fan in 1956]
Norbert Wiener Cybernetics is the essential unity of the set of prblems centering about communication, control, and statistical mechancics wether in living tissue or the machine.
Wiener is the first to understand that when a machine and a person wok together, they form a new, single biomechanical entity.
Clynes, Kline (1960) coin the term cyborg:
To illustrate, there may be much more efficient ways of carrying out the functions of the respiratory system than by breatinh, which becomes cumbersome in space. One proposed solution for not too distant future is relatively simple: don’t breathe.
[Gemini 4 spacewalk]
A spacesuit is really a small bit of earth.
If man in space, in addition to flying his vehicle, must continuoysly be checking on things…
Being a cyborg is a way of surviving in space without having to think about it all the time.
The ISS is really just a big space suit. We’re learning though that the body doesn’t do very well in microgravity: Bones disintegrate, muscles weaken, skin ages, eyesight deteriorates.
Mariko Mori: Birth of a Star (1995), also Stelarc, and ORLAN, who’s had her face changed to match various pieces from art history.
Haraway: A Cyborg Manifesto
These are the coupleings which make man….. body and mind.
See also the Human Barbie. GQ got her and the human Ken together. It’s very disturbing.
Catlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair (2015). Note male, agressive language around the photograph. Also Chelsea Manning in Vogue. Media language clearly doesn’t know what to do with transgender people.
Neil Harbisson, whose attached an antenna to his head to expand his bandwidth of perception. Also his partner Moon Ribas, who has an implant that vibrates with seismic events.