Reading

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.

DARPA Exo-Skeleton

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.