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Category Archives: Posthuman
Posted: March 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm
This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Hi everybody! Jim from Legends of Tomorrow reviews here, filling in on what is probably the second best DC TV show. Everything Legends does, Supergirl does too, but where Legends keeps things light and fluffy, Supergirl adds in some soapiness and some real world parallels, sometimes to its detriment. Ultimately, Distant Sun was excellent, only kept from perfection by being a touch on the nose.
The major plot of this episode is Mon-Els family – his father, Lar Gand (YES I KNOW!), played by Gods Not Dead But Youll Wish You Weres Kevin Sorbo, and his mother, a name that isnt an obvious Easter egg, played by Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’s Teri Hatcher – show up on Earth demanding he be returned to them. Kara finds out that he was a Daxamite prince, and thus one of the leading assholes in the state, and her trust is betrayed.
The writers do an outstanding job of weaving the supposed backup story into the main plot, making it relevant to the entire episode. Winn and Lyra open the episode sneaking into the National City Museum of Art to fool around, only Winn gets picked up by Maggie the next day and questioned about why he was the only one on camera in the museum right before Van Goghs Starry Night disappeared. Winn, James and Alex track Lyra down and throw her in the DEO hoosegow, where she reveals that her brother is alive and being held captive by the non-human traffickers (posthuman traffickers? No, theyre not evolved humans. Ill workshop this) who helped them escape Star Haven. Theyll return him after she finishes her elaborate art heists on their behalf.
This is a good place to talk about where the episode failed. One of the things Supergirl does, usually well, is weave in real-world concerns with their fantastical plot. The aliens-as-immigrants parallel is explicit early in the season – the writers are not interested in hiding what theyre talking about, waste no time trying to dance around the metaphor, but usually focus on making the metaphor serve the story. Thats no different here: Lyras refugee admission is important to turning the plot, but most of why it works as a turn is because of the effort the writers and Jeremy Jordan as Winn have put in building trust in his character. Theres always a little concern that hes getting played, but for most of this season hes been portrayed as having his head on straight, so we bought his play.
Mon-El hasnt earned the same trust as a character yet, so the more on-the-nose archetypes his family falls into dont work as well. Lar Gand and…I dont remember her name, so Im just going to call her Ke Leanne…their douchey patrician act is enough without having to have Ke Leanne snarl Were going to make Daxam great again. I mean, this whole plot is basically Guess Whos Coming To Dinner if Sidney Poitier was our collective liberal revulsion at a My Drive With A Trump Supporter article in the New Yorker.
Ultimately, the episode works because this cast is really, really strong. Melissa Benoist is cranked up to 11 for almost the whole thing – bubbly without being twee, determined, but believably hurt by the fact that Mon-El wasnt being truthful with her. It helped that the stakes, what she broke up with Mon-El over, were solid: the writers have dropped the ball on these kind of keep them apart at all costs reveals in the past, but Mon-Els bodyguard killing a Kryptonian diplomat to send him offworld is pretty legit. Meanwhile, Jordan, Chyler Leighs Alex, Floriana Limas Maggie, and Mehcad Brooks James are awesome together. Their comic timing as a group is stellar, especially for a melodramatic cape show, and Maggie and Alex are settling into a really nice routine as a couple thats fun to watch.
I was worried when the episode opened with Mon-El talking about how their life was like a rom-com that thats the pattern they would follow. The writers changed it up enough to make sure the show wasnt predictable, but not so much that it wasnt entertaining either.
I dont care. Sub me in and youre getting an Easter egg guide.
– Six seasons in and winter still isnt here, Kara complains to the TV in the cold open. Preach, sister. I hope shes not a book reader.
– Mon-Els dads name is Lar Gand, which is funny because Mon-Els name is actually Lar Gand. He was originally Superboys Daxamite friend who catches a bad case of lead poisoning (not a mafia euphemism) and gets placed in the Phantom Zone so he doesnt die from the lead exposure. He is eventually brought out of the Phantom Zone in the 30th Century by the Legion of Super Heroes, and this WHOLE episode fuels my moral certitude that we will get a version of The Great Darkness Saga at some point in the future of this show.
– Kara jumps in a teleportation beam with Mon-El to head back up to his ship, which is a fucking TERRIBLE idea. Thats a surefire way to end up with a messed up hybrid, like Kon-El…wait…no way!
– The guy who plays King George [in Hamilton] is from Rimbor 5. OK imagine Ultra Boy (from the Legion) singing Youll Be Back to Phantom Lass (his eventual wife) and this gets A TON funnier. And weird.
– Did I catch that right? Is the art fence named Mandrax? Or is he named more than one Mandrakk? He does bear a passing resemblance to the vampire Monitor from Final Crisis…
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Musk and Bostrom’s computer simulation theory isn’t as crazy as it first sounds – The Plaid Zebra (blog)
Posted: March 10, 2017 at 3:26 am
Musk and Bostroms computer simulation theory isnt as crazy as it first sounds
BY: DUSTIN BATTY
As augmented reality and virtual reality technology continues to improve, concerns have arisen that in the future, we wont be able to tell what is real and what is computer-generated. According to some peopleincluding well-known innovator, inventor, and entrepreneur Elon Muskthere is a very good chance that we are all living in a computer simulation.
I know, I know; it sounds crazy. Weve all seen The Matrix, and most of us are aware that its just science fiction. But this theory isnt just senseless balderdash. Musk and the others who hold this theory, such as philosopher Nick Bostrom, make fairly compelling points to corroborate their arguments.
At Code Conference 2016, Musk points out the fact that video games have advanced from Pong to 3-dimensional near-realistic graphics in just over 40 years. It follows that in a few more decades, if we continue at our current rate of technological advancementor in a few millennia, if our advancement slows by a factor of a thousand, but eventuallywe will reach the level of technology necessary to create a fully realistic-seeming virtual reality.
One of the strongest counter-arguments to the computer simulation theory, as posited in an IFLScience article, is that running a truly lifelike simulation of a city, with all its trillions of interactions, would require a city-sized computer. In other words, the amount of computing power that would be required in order to process all of the human minds that are currently aliveas well as the environment in which we all exist and the visible universe that we can detectwould be impossible to develop.
After a lengthy build up in the paper he wrote on the subject, Bostrom claims that developing the computing power required to allow for the lives of 100 billion people, as well as the surrounding environment, is not actually impossible. It would, however, require a computer with the mass of a large planet, which is obviously something that were not even close to building. He says that the technology will become available eventually, if we are able to survive as a species long enough to become what he calls posthuman.
He describes the posthuman as those who are alive when humankind has acquired most of the technological capabilities that one can currently show to be consistent with physical laws and with material and energy constraints. It will probably take us thousands of years to reach a posthuman state, but Bostrom and Musk both point out that the time-frame doesnt matter. As long as the possibility of realistic simulations exists, then we are most likely in one.
The reason for this is simple logic. A simulation this advanced contains sentient beings that can create their own simulation; like in the movie Inception, there would be simulations within simulations within simulations. The chances that we are in the base reality rather than in one of the Inception layers is unlikely because there is only one base reality, but many simulated realities. And there would be no possible way to tell the difference.
So what does this mean for us? How do we move forward, knowing that theres a decent chance that we are in a computer simulation rather than in base reality? Well, we just keep on as if nothings changed. Because, if you think about it, nothing has changed. The world is just as real as it always was, and our reasons for living our lives the way we do are still true. We have simply been given a possible answer to the question about life, the universe, and everything. And I, for one, think its fascinating.
Tagged: computer simulation, elon musk, Nick Bostrom, posthuman, technology, Virtual Reality
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Posted: March 7, 2017 at 10:36 pm
Jiayuan Mountain by Du Kun
In the West, the phrase Asian art typically evokes delicate rice-paper prints, robed women in minimal interiors, and sublime waves of Japanese landscapes: museum pieces. Its no surprise that imaginative contemporary works are being made in the East. But whats on view in Temporal Turn, at the University of Kansas recently renovated Spencer Museum of Art, nevertheless startles. The exhibition gathers arresting art that addresses the unstoppable march of time and the spiritual link between humanity and nature.
The show, divided into five categories, spreads out across the two-story gallery. The names of these rubrics Pulse, The Edge of Infinity, Mythopoeia, Human/Posthuman/Inhuman, Anthropocene risk shading the viewers impressions of the art gathered therein. But the verbal indulgence doesnt have to inhibit your intuition, and the visuals consistently stimulate.
New meaning is given to the expression rock god in Du Kuns Jiayuan Mountain, part of his portrait series of Chinese music stars imagined as colossal temples settled in mountain landscapes. Each in this run is breathtaking in its rich detail and luscious color palettes. Here, the musicians features, built from elements of Buddhist and Confucian architecture, conflate traditional and modern modes of identity; shoulder muscles are articulated by jagged vertical mountains dusted by a snowy fog, and the hair is rendered like a bank of sculpted clouds. A bird on the left edge, near the eyes, gives the viewer a sense of scale. The closer you are to the piece, the more details reveal themselves. The bridge of the nose, for instance, is an emperor in formal garb strumming an instrument. Du Kuns obsession with musicians has reached worship status, but his homage is rooted in traditional Chinese culture and deep history.
I wish there were a way to experience Konoike Tomokos Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass in a different setting. The six-legged wolf is mirror-tiled, like a walking disco ball, and is the most attractive piece on the first floor. But its position in the gallery, beside a window, limits the full glittering effect on a sunny afternoon.
The sculpture coincides with an 11-minute black-and-white animation of wolf and a liminal creature called a mimio think sentient emoticon on a quest through the woods. The narrative emerges from a kind of dream logic, with bits of mythological ephemera strung across a loop that seems to have no beginning and no end. Wolves are extinct in Konoikes native Japan, where at one time indigenous Ainu people believed themselves born of a goddess and a creature that resembled a wolf. Donning Animal Skins alters and elevates the animal in a way that demands consideration of the myth and the reality as a single history: Reverent lore couldnt save the Hokkaido wolf from extermination.
As you make your way through the first floor, maniacal clicking periodically breaks your focus and lures you into the darkness of a side room. It comes from an old adding machine, stuck banging out the same command on a strip of thermal paper, which has become tangled and ineffective from the unyielding abuse. The installation Kansas Bokaisen Project, by Park Jaeyoung, is set up like a cluttered research lab, with an animal being pumped with air in a plastic bubble. The creature is a Japanese urban legend, called a bokaisen; under the steamy incubator in the middle of the lab, it resembles a possum. Paging through the notebooks on the table provides more information about an expedition to a land where the new animal was discovered, native to the fictitious world that unfolds as you paw through the interactive materials on the desk. A simulacrum of taut empirical research mingles with the scribbles of a mad scientist.
For images you didnt ask to see and will probably try to forget, move upstairs and sit in the curtained-off room in which Lu Yangs Uterus Man runs. In this surreal animation set to loud, jarring EDM the reproductive process mutates into a militarized nightmare. You will see weaponry and biology merged. You will see a baby roaring on the end of an umbilical-cord leash and a go-kart made of human bones, its elongated spine whipping around the back like the tail of a scorpion.
The central character of the animation is a gender-ambiguous futuristic superhero wearing a suit that makes the human body transparent. Uterus Man procreates, graphically, and uses the child as a tool for destruction. Sexuality and gender are explored through an assault of violent images (Lus collaborator on the project is a Japanese artist who had his genitals removed and served as a meal to paying guests. Really), and even when physical violence is absent from the screen, the intensity of the music and animation leaves you no less unsettled. Uterus Man hammers home the Human/Posthuman/Inhuman subcategory name, hammers it right into your skull. Lu Yangs work challenges sexual and cultural conventions with an exhaustive rigor that borders on the murderous.
That said, Yangs anti-narrative storytelling implores you to consider time as a tangled line. And if there is a single theme in Temporal Turn, this is it. The film succeeds in intensifying the entire show by being its least contemplative, its least beautiful. This is art with the power to free artists who follow its wildly unpaved path.
Still, theres more to see in Temporal Turn. Walking through it, you understand that artists in Seoul, New Delhi, Tokyo and Beijing are producing imaginative work at a pace that mirrors the rapidity of the regions overall growth. Its an absorbing collection, one that even seems to be in conversation with the permanent collection just as the artists on view consider the timeline that connects their new with the unforgettable old.
Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia
Through March 12 at the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence
Posted: March 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Dont worry, itll live on in another form.
London label Ninja Tune isnt just known for its great releases, the labels online forum has been a tight knit community and music resource since 1998. This week, after 19 years, the Ninja Tune forum will shut down.
A gathering place for music fans, amateur producers, DJs and established artists, the forums were marked with in-depth discussions, production competitions, DJ trades and IRL meet-ups. In addition to many Ninja Tune signees such as DJ Food, artists who posted include Posthuman and Mark Bell of LFO. Many FACT writers such as John Twells, Laurent Fintoni and Tony Poland have memories of posting on the forum during its long run.
The closure has less to do with the forum than it does with internet forums in general theyre growing out-of-date. Over email, the label explained that the increasing tech issues with the forum and the decreasing amount of posts made them decide to set up a page on Reddit which will be run and regularly updated by forum members.
The label shared the news last week on the forum in a note which we have republished below.
Were sad to close the Ninja Tune Forum. Created way back in 1998, it quickly became a lively community of people with thoughts to share and a common love of music of Ninja Tune. For a while back then it was the perfect Ninja Tune community. Some highlights have been the forum marriages and relationships, the huge King Geedorah lyric threads and posts being quoted in The Guardian. Over the years there have been over 45,000 registered users! The old forum technology issues mixed with the decreasing amount of posts in this new age of internet communication means it makes more sense to set up a page on Reddit whose technology is better designed and regularly updated (run by forum members Invisible A, Kid Vector & Techdef) where the spirit can live on.
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Things Are Super Weird Right Now, but It’s Not a Glitch in the Matrix, Says Harvard Physicist – ScienceAlert
Posted: March 4, 2017 at 1:32 am
If the past 12 months have you feeling like you’re stuck in the beta version of some giant, buggy simulation, we’re right there with you, what with the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and depending on which side of the fence you sit, the US and UK elections.
But despite what Elon Musk says, the barrage of weirdness we’ve been experiencing lately is just the way of the Universe, says Harvard theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, who once described the probability that we’re living in a giant video game of the future as “effectively zero”.
If you’re unfamiliar with the simulation hypothesis, it’s based in a 2003 paper by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom from the University of Oxford, who argued that at least one of the following propositions must be true:
That ‘posthuman’ stage Bostrom is talking about refers to the probability that at some point in the future, our technology would be so advanced, a single computer could simulate the entire mental history of humankind, using less than one-millionth of its processing power for 1 second.
Now imagine that a posthuman civilisation in the distant future manages to build a massive network of these ‘ancestor-simulations’, into which we could upload replicas of the minds of our ancestors to play out their lives in a giant computer program.
Assuming these minds had a ‘consciousness’ – something that scientists have been considering recently – they would realistically demand something akin to human rights so they weren’t some kind of robotic slave race. But that’s starting to sound a whole lot like us…
In a nutshell,Bostrom proposedthat humans will either almost certainly die out before any of this even happens (thanks, climate change); no advanced civilisations in the history of the Universe contained individuals with the means to build ancestor-simulations; or we almost certainly live in a simulation.
Last year, Elon Musk revealed that he’s a big believer in the simulation hypothesis, arguing that “the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions”.
And hell, it makes sense when you’re going through weird times like these that something other than “base reality” is at play:
But Lisa Randall is here to ruin all our fun, because when Corinne Purtill from Quartz asked her if the recent Oscars mix-up has her rethinking her anti-simulation stance, the answer is not even a little bit.
“At this point, we cannot prove that we do or don’t live in a simulation. More to the point, there is no reason to believe that we do,” she said.
“However, we can pretty much be sure that people will do amazing things and they will also mess up in spectacular ways.”
At a public debate last yearmoderated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Randall seized on Musk’s probability argument as one of the biggest reasons for why the simulation hypothesis doesn’t make sense.
“Part of the problem is that probabilities have to have a well-defined meaning, or are only useful when they have a well-defined meaning. So, among all possible scenarios we can actually say which one is more or less likely,” she said.
“When we run into infinities … it stops making sense. I mean, I could say really by probability I’m very likely to be Chinese, because there’s a lot more Chinese than Americans. But I’m clearly not Chinese. So, probabilities are tricky, and you have to be careful what you mean when you’re saying them.”
Randall added that it’s incredibly egotistical for us to assume that some highly advanced civilisation would build simulations that look just like us, and the probability argument only works if countless alien civilisations saw the human species as something worth simulating.
“It’s just not based on well-defined probabilities. The argument says you’d have lots of things that want to simulate us. I actually have a problem with that,” she said.
“We mostly are interested in ourselves. I don’t know why this higher species would want to simulate us.”
Case closed? Randall thinks so, but there are still some in the simulation corner, including cosmologist Max Tegmark from MIT,who argued, “If I were a character in a computer game, I would also discover eventually that the rules seemed completely rigid and mathematical.”
And that sounds an awful lot like laws of physics, asJames Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, pointed out:
“In my research I found this very strange thing.I was driven to error-correcting codes – they’re what make browsers work. So why were they in the equations I was studying about quarks and electrons and supersymmetry? This brought me to the stark realisation that I could no longer say people like Max are crazy.”
It would be nice to blame all of the recent weirdness on a glitchy simulation, but Randall sayswe’re better off coming up with more realistic explanations for the mysteries of the world, rather than blaming it all on a giant computer program.
And that sounds a whole lot more scientific to us.
You can watch the whole debate below, and read the transcript here:
Go here to see the original:
Posted: at 6:32 am
Luke Vibert, Posthuman, John Heckle and more contribute to the 20-track compilation.
Londons I Love Acid party will celebrate 10 years in the game with a 20-track acid compilation, released on a 303-shaped USB stick.
As RA reports, the compilation features tracks made byacid-loving producers from across the globe, including Luke Vibert, Neville Watson, Jared Wilson, Hannah Holland, Mark Forshaw and John Heckle.
Pye Corner Audio, XXXY, TB Arthur and Posthuman also contribute to the compilation, which will be released in time for the partys 10th anniversary parties in April.
Launched in 2007 by Luke Vibert and Posthuman, I Love Acids first party was held at Londons Corsica Studios and has been a fixture at the club and expanded with parties in different countries.
Its 10th anniversary parties take place at Manchesters Hidden on April 1, Corsica Studios on April 7 and Barcelonas Moog on May 5. Tickets for those can be found here.
10 Years of I Love Acid will be available to pre-order from the Balkan Vinyl Bandcamp page on March 5.
01. Neville Watson Sweatbox 02. Posthuman Brand Loyalty 03. Mike Dunn No Chaser 04. XXXY Blup Blup 05. TB Arthur TB1 B1 06. Mystic Bill Revenge Of The Preacherman 07. Cardopusher Out On A Limb 08. Hardfloor 36 Chambers Of Kikumoto 09. dyLab Let Us Rise 10. Kerrie Eerie Acid 11. Jared Wilson Tracking 12. Hannah Holland Tweak feat. Josh Caffe 13. B12 Wobble Boarding 14. Mark Forshaw Hes Not There 15. Jozef K & Wintersun Hyggeacid 16. John Heckle Days Of Atlantis 17. Chevron CYPUPB~B 18. Luke Vibert Jeepers H Christ 19. Transparent Sound Dancing Eyelids 20. Pye Corner Audio Dead Ends
Read next: The 20 best acid house records ever made
Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm
The tenth release from Cosmic Bridge sees label head Om Unit add another exciting new artist to his expanding roster.
Jason Taylor pka Graphs, based out of Boston, Massachusetts he is the first North American member of a worldwide family that includes Kromestar and Boxcutter and has given us Moresounds, EAN and Danny Scrilla; who after making their debuts for the label have gone on to make waves.
After the success of Cosmic Bridges last, release the Om Unit curated Cosmology compilation, Om Unit was looking ahead for new blood…. he says
I found Jason through listening to his Ground Mass material. (The burgeoning US label on which Graphs has graced several compilations and ultimately released his debut Scylla EP) Graphs to me has this very focused approach, quite singular and monotonal and definately in a sense quite bleak and minimalistic. With Posthuman he draws on that robotic notion of the severed heart. He touches on the Grime and Footwork styles but maintaining this sense of originality and putting it across in his own way, something which I admire in any artist.
Graphs feels right at home on Cosmic Bridge. On Posthuman he explores the furtive middle ground between UK Drum & Bass and US Footwork. Cold and instrumental but with the potential to ignite, his label debut takes hyperkinetic drums, stringently arranged breaks and darkside synths and develops jittery, tech-stepping, rhythmic patterns with close atten- tion to atmospheric and textural detail. In doing so he provides four tracks of menacing, twitchy Footwork with exceptional potency and proper dread future shock that roll with fluid halfstep D&B and just a hint of old skool Photek. The shapeshifting slow/fast electronic parameters of this record are informed by a noirish backdrop of cyber-surreal dream states and are buoyed by brooding bass and subs that rattle your bones and incite the feet.
The theme of the album is the dilemma whereby technology allows us to be more than we are, but we often use that power for shallow things. I grew up on drum and bass, and a lot of that music is infused with utopian/dystopian vision. Particularly in names, either very positive or very dark and sinister. My concept here is: what if it was neither? What if it was sort of empty, as if it went on without us or without our intervention? Like how Limbo is in the movie Inception: an empty, crumbling heaven. Posthuman/posthumanism is typically a term that describes a utopian view of what comes next for humanity after some technological singularity, described by thinkers like Ray Kurzweil. So I thought it would be somewhat interesting to consider what if it was nothing? or what if the future didnt need us?.
Graphs – Posthuman EP is mastered by Beau Thomas at teneightseven, artwork is by Ground Mass label head Mark Kloud.
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Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:29 am
Emmanuelle Lain Incremental Self: Transparent Bodies March 8July 1, 2017
Opening : March 7, 69pm
Btonsalon Center for Art and Research 9 Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet Rez-de-Chausse de la Halle aux Farines F-75013 Paris France
T +33 1 45 84 17 56 firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.betonsalon.net Twitter / Facebook / Instagram
Btonsalon – Center for Art and Research is proud to present a solo exhibition by Emmanuelle Lain to re-open its newly refurbished spaces.
Our lives are all but fragile and precarious. Yet they are multiple, collective, and uncontrollable. This is what artist Emmanuelle Lain manifests in her exhibitionIncremental Self: Transparent Bodies.The bodies we observe in her filmic installationstudents, retired artists, workersare in transitional places where different sorts of exchanges are taking place. They are evolving in spaces of negotiation where successive layers of identity are being performed in interaction with given economic, sensible, and even symbolic facts and objects.What should we do with of all these stories, anecdotes, and memories told by each and every one of us? How to make these narratives biting? To exhibit oneself is to demonstrate a form of resistance, while reconnecting with ones own fragility. WithIncremental Self: Transparent Bodies, we are inclined to explore the following question raised by philosopher Rosi Braidotti: How[do we] find adequate theoretical and imaginary representations for our lived conditions and how [do we] experiment together with alternative forms of posthuman subjectivity?(1)Emmanuelle Lains exhibition is a demonstration of ones taking shape, where humans and objects influence each other, assembling, overlapping, and mixing indiscernibly.Each permeates the other until conscience arises in their trembling selves, thus becoming transparent. Emmanuelle Lains transparent bodies materialize our shifting, off-center, fragmented, and multiple identities. Even more, transparent bodies are contagious, contaminating each other.
(1)Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman, Cambridge: Polity Press,2013, p.187
Emmanuelle Lain (born in Paris in 1973) lives and works in Marseille. She graduated from the cole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris. Elaborating on the specifics of each exhibition venue, Emmanuelle Lain uses the furniture and architectural features of her host institutions to provide a methodology of places connecting the spaces, the artworks and the audience. Her practice consists of monumental in-situ installations that blur the distinctions between the different media she uses. This process allows her to create a complex cognitive space where several temporalities coexist and only make sense to the spectator, who is considered to be the key player of the exhibition.
She recently exhibited her works at the Palais de Tokyo (2017, 2014) and at Villa Vassilieff (2016) in Paris, at the Lyon Biennale (2015), at the GLstrand, (Copenhagen, 2015), at the Stereo Gallery (Warsaw, 2015), at the ICA Singapore (2015), at the Swiss Cultural Institute (Rome, 2014) and at La Loge Bruxelles (2013). Her works were also shown in personal exhibitions hosted by the Villa Arson (2016), the Galerie Motinternational (Bruxelles, 2015), IFAL (Mexico, 2015), the foundation Ricard (2014) and C-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e (Brussels, 2014).
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Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:39 am
From Tristan Tzaras Vingt-Cinq Poemes. Etching by Hans Arp. From the collection of the International Dada Archive, Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries Andrei Codrescu: Documenting Dada/Disseminating Dada
Shambaugh Auditorium Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.
Dada was a volatile artistic, social and political movement that exploded in 1916 from the Zrich club Cabaret Voltaire, creating reverberations that can still be felt today. Its fuse was lit by refugees from World War One who decamped to Switzerland, a neutral country that became a magnet for artists, bohemians and other radicals.
As poet and NPR contributor Andrei Codrescu observed, The Dadaists had the bad luck to live during a World War yet unmatched for stupidity (though he was quick to add, Not that there are any smart wars). We are living in a similar world, but it is still only 1913, he told me, drawing parallels between the dawning days of the Trump administration and the lead-up to WWIs bloodbath. So, in a scientifically more advanced time, we are in the same position the Dadaists were: The only answer to the insanity of our war-hungry leaders is a resolute NO.
The Dadaists were contrarians; they were artists who wanted to abolish art, and were serious about their jokes. We destroyed, we insulted, we despised and we laughed, reminisced early Dadaist Hans Richter in his book, Dada: Art and Anti-Art. We laughed at everything. We laughed at ourselves just as we laughed at Emperor, King and Country, fat bellies and baby-pacifiers Pandemonium, destruction, anarchy, anti-everything, why should we hold it in check? What of the pandemonium, destruction, anarchy, anti-everything, of the World War?
Dadaists said their NO by mocking all Western art and philosophy, echoed Codrescu. They saw that only the creation of new forms of art, thinking, living and creative resistance would demonstrate the absurdity of war. As the author of The Posthuman Dada Guide, he will speak in Shambaugh Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 as part of the University of Iowa Main Library Gallery exhibition, Documenting Dada/Disseminating Dada.
I discovered Dada in high school, in my birthplace, Romania, which was a communist country, Codrescu recalled. Coming to Dada through the poetry of Tristan Tzara, it opened the door for him, making it possible to use his imagination to survive Romanias police state. Im familiar with dictatorship and its silencing of dissent, Codrescu added. We are now on our way to authoritarian rule in the U.S.
The Posthuman Dada Guides subtitle Tzara and Lenin Play Chess serves as the books framing device: a hypothetical chess game that pitted Tzara against Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. Tzara played chess on the side of art, anarchy, freedom, the unexpected and the end of war. Lenin played for ideology, class war and an orderly police state. For a while in the 20th century it looked like Lenin won the war. In the 21st, it looks like Tzara did. We will see. The game still goes on.
Codrescu hopes Dada tactics can help win a game whose stakes have been raised by sadistic chess masters like Donald Trump. Spontaneous action is the only activity that the police dont understand. They understand ideologies like communism, fascism, etc., but they have trouble with poetry. First thought, best thought, Allen Ginsberg said. Organizations understand organizations, but no one expects spontaneous dance, song or a sudden seizure by a pagan god. Dada is a constructive destruction party that lets the future in.
When asked about his favorite historical moment in this constructive destruction party, Codrescu mused, The first night at Cabaret Voltaire must have been something: Poets invented simultaneous readings, there were dances invented on the spot, fantastic masks by Marcel Janco, Tristan Tzaras antics, Hugo Balls nonsense poems, several languages in performance. There was a drunken audience of heartbroken, wounded soldiers, deserters and spies. It was the start of modern art in the 20th century. One evening that changed everything.
Dadaists mocked and molested bourgeois society with prankish acts that attempted to dismantle the museums and turn the streets into galleries. The first shot fired from Dadas anti-art machine gun was Marcel Duchamps first ready-made, Bicycle Wheel, in 1913. According to Duchamp, a ready-made is just an everyday object that can be turned into art by someone audacious enough to call it that. As early as 1913, Duchamp deadpanned, I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn.
With Fountain, his most notorious ready-made, Duchamp bought a mass-produced urinal, signed the name R. Mutt on its white porcelain surface and then placed it in a gallery. On another occasion, he drew a mustache and goatee on a store-bought reproduction of Da Vincis Mona Lisa, naming it LHOOQ. When the letters in Duchamps title are read aloud in French Elle a chaud au cul its a pun on a phrase that translates colloquially as she is hot in the ass.
For a group that embraced irreverence and chaos, its no surprise that Dadaism quickly imploded by the early-1920s. But its anarchic legacy lives on and continues to serve as an antidote to todays post-truth era that is swimming in alternative facts. Reflecting on this, Codrescu said, The non-facts of people in power are dangerous lies. The disorder of distracters is not Dada: its brainwashing propaganda based on salesmanship and deliberate confusion. Dada undoes those with an overt sense of the absurd that puts the spotlight squarely on the contradictions of power.
Dada is flexible, he concludes, when the power lies, it reacts with an absurd but true transparent gesture. When power pretends to be of the people, Dada proclaims its aristocracy. Dada is a perpetual NO to whatever is being proposed by the manipulators in power.
Kembrew McLeod marches to the beat of his own Dada drummer. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 215.
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