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Category Archives: Posthuman

Best of 2019: Harm’s Way Pick 5 Favorite Albums of Year – Revolver Magazine

Posted: December 25, 2019 at 11:48 pm

2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For their part, industrialized hardcore outfitHarm's Wayreleased the remix EPPSTHMN, which reimagined cuts off their excellent2018 album, Posthuman, and toured relentlessly in support of both. When we we asked vocalist James Pligge to share some his favorite music from the year, he came back with a group effort."Because we are always in a van together we usually all consume music as a band, I decided to get a collaborative list of all Harm's Way's favorite albums of 2019," the vocalist responded."This list is in no particular order and is just some records we really enjoyed at home and on the road in 2019."

Probably one of the biggest records to come from the hardcore and metal world this year was A Different Shade of Blue. This record is very catchy and heavy and offers a combination of Nineties hardcore and modern metalcore. I think it has created a movement in which many people from different musical backgrounds can get behind. Its impact on heavy music and well-constructed metallic hardcore makes it one of the best heavy records of 2019.

I have always been a fan of Division of Mind from Richmond and this LP is no different. This record is just a perfect combination of truly angry music with d-beat and mosh parts. It reminds me of a heavier Left for Dead or the Swarm. One thing that always resonates with me is vocalists that are able to convey their hatred or anger through the vocals of a record, and I think this record is able to do that very well.

This record reminds me of some of the early 2000s Western Massachusetts bands like Think I Care. As a person who got really into hardcore in the early 2000s, this record is almost nostalgic-like to me. I just really enjoy the combination of well-done fast parts and heavily distorted breakdowns, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs live night in and night out on our tour together in August.

I came across this from a fellow Hate Force member. Finding death metal that is new and interesting can sometimes be a challenge, but Vomit Forth was able to keep my attention. In my opinion, this album sounds like a combination of old Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Devourment, but less technical. At times it also remind me of Internal Bleeding, especially with the heavier breakdowns mixed with the traditional death-metal parts. Lucky for them, that style of deathmetal is one of my favorites, and this record really stands apart from a lot of the monotony that is out there.

If you offered me a million dollars to pronounce this band's name correctly, I would most definitely fail. I really enjoy slow, Neanderthal-like deathmetal, and this band does this extremely well. Although this record is only four songs, I think it's truly one of the best death-metal records I have heard in a long time. If you like slower death metal with d-beat parts and sludgy breakdowns like Disma, you should most certainly check this record out on Bandcamp.

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Moscows Garage Museum Starts Pioneering Online Art Venueand Its More Than a Museum on the Internet – ARTnews

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm

As artists experiment with the internet and digital media with increasing frequency, museums of all kinds are aiming to crack the code of how to display such art online to a wide audience. Now the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow is entering the field with an ambitious new effort.

Garage, which was founded by art collector Dasha Zhukova and her then-husband, billionaire Roman Abramovich, is starting a multi-pronged new initiative, Garage Digital, which will allow its curators to commission new digital artworks and offer historical context for old ones.

Part of the platforms role will be to support programming within the museums walls, and right now, in connection with The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 20302100, its survey exhibition about contemporary art and environmentalism, Garage Digital is hosting new works by artists Posthuman Studies Lab, Sascha Pohflepp with Matthew Lutz and Alessia Nigretti, Gints Gabrns, and James Ferraro and Ezra Miller.

Katya Inozemtseva, the senior curator of the Garage Museum and a member of Garage Digitals workgroup, said that the program is intended to shift the publics understanding of how art and technology interact. We arrived at the idea of sort of non-space, a digital limbo, where the new art could exist and be seen, she told ARTnews in an email. It lives on the logic of a feed and under the legislation of general experience of everyone who uses a smartphone with internet connection. Garage doesnt intend to create a digital ghetto or a museum on the internet. Were reacting to the transformed relationships between physical and digital realities.

The New Museums 2002 acquisition of the New York art-and-technology organization Rhizome serves as a precedent for Garages moves, but Garage Digital comes amid quick-moving changes in the field. Numerous shows about the internet have arrived at global art museums over the past few years, the Serpentine Galleries in London has started an augmented-reality program, and museum director Daniel Birnbaum left the Moderna Museet in Sweden to lead a company focused on virtual-reality works by artists.

Russia presents a particularly unique home for the project, given the countrys unique history with digital art. During the 1990s, many of the most important works from the movement were being produced by Russian artists like Olia Lialina and Alexei Shulgin, who used digital interfaces to ponder the exchange of visual and political information online.

Inozemtseva said that Garage Digital will contextualize works by such pioneersand also aim to create new groundbreaking works through a grant program. Importantly, she said, the texts hosted on Garage Digitals site will appear in both English and Russian, in an attempt to stimulate researchers and scholars of younger generation to move forward, to use the optics and approaches of posthuman theory in order to invent/see/analyze various phenomena in our reality.

Among the initiatives Garage Digital has already started is one dedicated specifically to gaming. According to Inozemtseva, the divide between the digital sphere and everyday life is growing thinner, and games are offering new ways of immersing oneself in technological environments. With that in mind, the museum plans to commission works making use of video games and computer simulations.

But the political climate in Russia could be an obstacle for some of the programming Garage Digital has planned. In November, Russian politicians unveiled a plan to create a sovereign internet, effectively starting a network thats walled off from international countries. Experts have raised questions about whether the new plan could lead to increased censorship online in a way similar to Chinas Great Firewall. Inozemtseva did not seem worried, however.

We think that its more an ideological construct and political tool than a reality, she said of the sovereign internet plan. It definitely does not influence our programming and is not able to. Any regulation of this kind immediately appears absurd, and might be only used as a trigger for artistic production.

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‘The Expanse’ Season 4 Review: Hard science, biological conflicts laced with emotions and action makes space d – MEAWW

Posted: at 2:56 pm

This spoiler-free review is based on the six episodes provided to MEAWW

'The Expanse' has always prided itself on ensuring attention to detail and a thorough narrative. This explains why 'New Terra' takes its time in dedicating its entire runtime to get the audience up to speed after Syfy's cancellation last May. The major chunk of the series is a slow burner. It revolves around the character acclimatizing to a new environment. The crew of the Rocinante is back. Captain James Holden (Steven Strait), first officer Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), engineer Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), and pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) take up ample screentime, and their latest work starts off when they touchdown on an alien planet, Ilus.

This season is an adaptation of Cibola Burn, book number four of the 'Expanse' series and continues exploring the themes it tried explaining in its pilot season - the acute knowledge of space, stellar elements and the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman. Ilus, aka New Terra, brings all these factors in one place. Also present are a group of Belters who try and make a living out of mining Lithium. There are enough encounters between them and the Royal Charter Energy (RCE).

And while there's enough story to go, the following episodes take its time to establish each layer. For 'The Expanse's staunch followers, this may be a delight. The face-off between the two parties is a thrilling showdown. It is also clear that the series has focused its energy on character development this time. Tipper as Naomi owns the screen in each of her appearances and is one of the bright spots of the latest installment. She also manages to translate the fact that she literally carries the burden of being Rocinante's only Belter.

The sentiments are out there and the series encapsulates some heartfelt moments, again, with Tipper playing a pivotal role in making these moments memorable. For a person who's spent a lifetime in the vastness of space, every little movement comes as an effort one that she manages to convey seamlessly. The laughs come in the form of Chatham's Amos and his sexual banter with Salgueiro's Wei (Murtrys second-in-command). The duo's relationship isn't exactly a smooth ride, but it does form a great plot point to go with.

For those familiar with Cibola Burn, the story has enough zing making it a worthwhile read, and the season makes an honest attempt in explaining the story. There are hard sciences and biological conflicts that are coupled with specks of emotions and actions. Eventually, it is shown that the atmospheric effects impact the RCE and the Belters forcing them to team up. And while there is a hint of predictability, the show justifies this by a lengthy, but a definitely-needed explanation. Ilus is a visual delight. And up until the massive blast that dents the planet's surface, there is breathtaking imagery.

'The Expanse' could have probably looked at giving more meaty roles to its cast. With the enormous focus on science, it's easy to notice the strength and story of these characters fade away at times. This edition of 'The Expanse' justifies the need for season 4 and is convincing enough for a watch after what could rightfully be called a zigzaggy start.

'The Expanse' Season 4 premieres on December 13 on Amazon Prime Video.

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David Blandy and a Cadre of Essex Gamers Introduce us to a World After Homo Sapiens –

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:10 am

In 1970, in the marshes of Canvey Island, Essex, a petroleum refinery was planned and built, before being abandoned five years later following the OPEC oil crisis of 197374. Since then, the site has been slowly reclaimed by nature, becoming one of the most biodiverse areas of the UK, apparently equal to a rainforest in terms of species per square metre.

These hushed wetlands are the focus of David Blandys exhibition The World After, consisting of a new film installation and tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) of the same name. Blandy looks at the locales fecund present and towards its distant, posthuman future, imagining the Canvey of the 101st century as a site of ecological and societal renewal, after a manmade and all-too-plausible environmental cataclysm, has laid waste to our fragile Earth.

Shot on an iPhone (that most emblematic of Anthropocene artefacts), Blandys film takes its cue from nature documentaries or more precisely from the scenes in Terrence Malick movies that pause the onscreen drama by cutting to footage of fauna and flora as if to suggest the indifference of the rest of the planets lifeforms to passing human concerns. Soundtracked by the Southend Symphony Orchestras melancholy, swooning score, the industrial ruins of the refinery site pass through the four seasons. In tight, exquisitely filmed close-ups, raindrops hang fatly from spring shoots, and winter frost dusts vegetation, so that it resembles the gemstone-crusted jungle of J.G. Ballards novel The Crystal World (1966). Nature arcs through its timeless cycle of reproduction and death: bees gather pollen, ants feast on the corpse of a dead earth worm, and spiders (creatures long associated with storytelling in folklore) weave their sticky webs.

Two voiceovers, one old and male, the other young and female, relate how homo sapiens paved the road for its own destruction: Oil was once so plentiful they built a whole culture around it, burning it to power their lives. Our narrators, it seems, are our species descendants; the landscape, not a present-day Canvey, but The World After, Fain. Looking around the screening room, we are confronted both by 21st-century detritus (seating made from materials salvaged from Southend pier, pellets recycled from tires covering the floor like oil on a beach), and a large black, polygonal mass that recalls the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), an object that functioned in Stanley Kubricks film as a kind of evolutionary accelerator. It is, in fact, a scaled-up d20, or 20-sided dice, and alludes to the participatory-artwork-as-RPG that forms the twin component of the exhibition.

Developed in collaboration with a cadre of Essex gamers, Blandys RPG follows a format popularly established by the Dungeons and Dragons franchise (1974ongoing). The game takes the form of an illustrated book detailing a fantasy world, and a set of rules for navigating it through collective, speech-based roleplay, in which the d20 functions, in effect, as the hand of capricious fate.

Blandys game, however, is no derivative, sub-J.R.R. Tolkien quest narrative. Massively extending the vision of a future Canvey hinted at in his film, it introduces us to several playable factions of post-humanity, including the biologically intersex Safeer, the amphibious, techno-mystical Nautia, and the matriarchal society of the Dahra. As a work of science fiction, it feels at once fresh, deeply imagined and unusually politically engaged. Unlike much participatory art, it provides a framework for genuine and sustained communal creativity. At a time when homo sapiens faces an existential crisis, roleplaying as our own evolutionary successors feels both a sobering prospect, and an odd source of hope.

Main image: David Blandy, The World After, 2019, cutout, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, UK

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Ethics, Truth and Post-Truth: Political and social implications – Modern Diplomacy

Posted: at 10:10 am

I want to reflect on ethics, truth and post-truth in the context ofaccelerated changes in the economy, politics, society, culture and digitalknowledge, information and communication media, which give rise to cyberspaceand the internet.

The power of a journalist, reaching millions of people from behind hiscomputer, is controlled by national and international laws; professional normsbacked by numerous journalist associations, instructions from his media and theeveryday larger and commented code of ethics. And we all know about theduty-based ethics focussed on the importance of truth; the progressive ethicsbased of investigative journalism, and consequentialist ethics focused onsociety; does the article offend someone?. Can thepublication of a certainissue do more harm than good, evenif the facts used were correct?.

What about losing my job, or been attacked verbally and physically? butethics light, pass by a coloured crystal of personal values, personalcircumstances and his own loyalties wherever they are: to the general public,to the customers, the supporters and the subscribers, to the employer, thecorporation, the colleagues and the professional community and to himself.

In the real world of reporting, ethics seen by the public or seen by thejournalist, are different.

There is a different perception of ethics between the public and thejournalist, and we must establish the differences between the media and thejournalists work. The public believes, that it is the journalists who is dedicatedto manipulate the information, and most of the time, it is the means of themedia that censures or favors the publication for financial or politicalreasons.

Yesterday I received a complaint from a journalist who after doing anextensive interview with the Russian ambassador representative to the OPCWabout the role of his country in Syria and the use of chemical weapons in Duma,no newspaper wanted to publish.

Quality, Economy and Ethics

On the side of the journalist, it is important that they be paid welland that the expenses incurred to do their work be covered; the lack ofresources makes use of second-hand information, copied from social media.

For example, last week the official visit of a president in theNetherlands was covered by the medias. To report on the official visit, ajournalist I know, had to go to a city that is three hours away and the mediadid not paid the trip; since the journalist resolved to copying and translatingthe news that he found in other media and social media, which maybe they werecopied in turn, the original source, the authenticity, the veracity of theinterviews and the context of reality were lost, causing the journalist to fallinto a lack of ethics and lack of quality of the news.

Scope of information and ethics

The limitation of resources in the media due to the economic crisis, hasbrought a fragmentation of the media that multiply and become smaller andsectorial, specializing in niches but with less scope; since the reader cannotread 80 newspapers per day, they better select their reading by topics. Forexample, we are dedicated to the diplomatic world and internationalorganizations, with a first-class content but a limited public.

The fact that journalism no longer provides a living for people who workin the industry or invest in it, has reinforced the corruption that has alwaysovershadowed journalism and has spawned more owners who buy up media to promotetheir wider political and business interests.

Working conditions in newsrooms online and offline are equally poor.A generation of young people in the journalism schools around the world havefew quality jobs to look forward to. Some will survive as freelancers, butmany, are destined for advertising, corporate communications or public andpolitical information jobs. Now more than ever before, journalism income is notdetermined by attachment to a single income ow, but it is based upon creativesolutions to the funding crisis and may include non-traditional funding, or amix of civic, market and public resources.

As commercial organisations, NGOs and governments seek to manipulatenews, profit-hungry social media platforms undermine quality journalism, andpolitical propaganda masquerade as truth, journalists unions are campaigningfor a media environment which embraces the core values of journalism.

Postmodernity has many ways from its definition to its interpretation orunderstanding.

What has become called post-truth, seems the resurrection of theimaginary of Jorge Luis Borges, called magical realism and that Borgespublished in 1935. The writer admits that it is a set of stories written, inbaroque language, by an irresponsible, that gets to falsify and misrepresentother peoples stories, although the stories are based on real crimes.

The writer also states that the volume of stories is nothing more thanappearance, than a surface of images; for that reason it can please thereaders. That is, to seduce them, attract them, deceive them.

For example, the text entitled The Atrocious Redeemer LazarusMorell, was written between 1933 and 1934, and it reinterprets and adaptsto fiction the historical, economic, political, racial and culturalconsequences derived from the claim of Father Bartolom de las Casas to EmperorCarlos V, by means of which he asks to replace the indigenous labor, already inthe process of extinction, by black slaves brought from Africa.

Could something be more like post-truth, than this eagerness tomisrepresent the facts in order to present them to the readers, to theaudience, to society as if they were true?

There are no barriers between reality and fiction, between truth andlies, between subjectivity and objectivity.

The Oxford Dictionary declared the post-truth word of the year in2016. This famous word, would not have been possible without economicconditions, such as neoliberalism, the market empire and the unethicalneoprotectionism; of a political nature, such as populism and radicalnationalism; social and moral, such as xenophobia, the rejection of the poorfor being poor and racism; of a cultural nature, such as multiculturalism;demographic order, such as mass migration flows through poverty, wars orreligion and above all, technoscientific order, especially with thetechnological revolution and what they call the digital world thenetwork society that chooses to use terms like cyberspace ,cyberworld, cyberculture, cyberpolitics.

The liberal production and consumption system, as well as itslegal-political structures, experienced in 2008 a deep fissure of an ethicalnature, generated by the black September of the United States Stock Exchange.The serious economic consequences, spread like wildfire across Europe and Asia.These conditions gave rise to forms of degradation of power and the exercise ofknowledge and politics, which are resolved, in a certain way, in what we nowcall post-truth.

From the value of the presumably false, to the presumably true; on thebasis that giving up false judgments would be giving up life. Admit thatnon-truth is a condition of life: this means, confronting ethics in a dangerousway beyond good and evil.

The act of thinking, of asking suspicious questions and of challengingestablished knowledge as absolute truths, translates into the transmutation ofall values characterized by the lack of ethical commitment and by thepredominance of individualism and particular interests, over those of commonvalue.

The history of truth, seen socially, has developed in close relation toreason and non-truth, has gone hand in hand with the history of the State, as aregulator of the order and guarantee of the rulers over the governed.

Under the pretext of owning the truth, chiefs of tribes, empires,caliphates, despotic, tyrannical, liberal and totalitarian regimes have beenerected. However, its most accepted form has been attached to democracy as apolitical system. Today, and as a result of the validity of the post-politicalas a degradation of democracy and the ethical misery of the parties, this placehas been occupied by post-truth. This phenomenon, as we stated at thebeginning, would not have been possible without the technological revolution,the digitalization of information systems, production, consumption,communication and the creation of cybersociety and technocracy as analternative to the welfare state.

Post-truth, gives rise to manipulation and discursive and politicaldeception, based on a demagogic process of impersonation of objectivity. Thepost-truth has created the smokescreen in which the post-democracy is agitated,with a serious deficit of meaning in concepts, now inflated and distorted, suchas the homeland, the people, the citizen, law, identity or freedom. To this isadded, the indifference of politics to the facts themselves, however inhumanthey may be. In addition, it gives rise to the divorce between power andpolitics, since the former is exercised in a global scope, while the latter islimited to national states.

It is paradoxical that, in the framework of the digital era, inpolitical terms, the post-tactical is worshiped, and the distance to thepost-right (tyranny or totalitarianism) is shortened. Hence the non-truth, thatis, the false and imposter of objectivity is an unpredictable danger.

The postfactual threat promotes false arguments, involving them inmoving and amplified stories in the resonance chambers of the network anddigital communication, until changing behaviors and influencing the decision ofthe masses. These resonance chambers are, in the postfactual, controlled andactivated by machines or robots and are capable of generating a huge amount ofinformation and news through the private superpowers such as Facebook,Google, Twitter, Instagram and others.

In the field of media communication, the worst threat to qualityjournalism, to honest, rigorous and respectful journalism, is the false news.The proliferation of false news that has brought the chaos to the world ofnews, at the same time, have revalued the role of the press as a reliablereference for information and to control the abuses of power

And we give way to securitization, as a trick of the politician. Thetrick, is the displacement that the governments of these times of latemodernity, globalization and interdependence make of the genuine concern of thecitizens, changing them for other problems. For example, given the inability tosolve issues such as citizen insecurity, unemployment or growing poverty, thiskind of politicians of securitization present other problems such as specularterrorism; or to confuse the problem of immigration with that of national andpersonal security; or an alleged international campaign to discredit the State.

Securitizing is, then, maintaining the state of affairs by using thepublic attention diversion resource.

Post-truth is an emotional root argument, which causes what appears tobe true, to be more important than the true itself. It creates the illusionthat there may be an alternative objectivity to ostensible objectivity. As itsfield of cultivation is public opinion, there, the post-truth makes concreteand objective facts less relevant than simply appealing to emotions or personalconvictions.

Journalist Eric Alterman spoke of a post-true political environment whenreferring to the Bush administrations misleading arguments about the tragicterrorist attacks of 9/11 and the consequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The political language that adheres to the exercise of postmodern poweruses the arguments of securitization and post-truth. After historical processessuch as Hiroshima and Nagasaky, the Cold War, and most especially, 9/11 in theUnited States, the securitization of international relations has become, in thepolitical and business field, a kind of discipline from fear.

The risk of international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction havemade internal security an unprecedented importance in the United States andprivate companies, especially in sectors such as transportation, informationtechnology, finance, health, pharma, education and oil industry who areincreasingly called and committed by the State to safeguard the internalsecurity of the nation.

The corporate environment has substantially increased the recruitment ofsecurity personnel, communication experts and specialists in digital culture,because, in addition to having to deal with the direct and collateral effectsof the fear discipline, they have to deal with strategies for managing thereputational risk, constantly threatened by rumors or discredit campaigns basedon false news and the non-sanctioned objectives of post-truth.

The political problem of the journalist is to know if it is possible toconstitute a new politics of truth by changing the political, economic,institutional regime of truth production. The truth is not somethingabsolute or immovable. The truth is a dynamic, social, historical, scientificand political product, which is built and constitutes the heat ofphilosophical, ideological, economic and social disputes, which take place in aspecific space and at a specific time.

The truth is power, and vice versa. Also the lie is a power.

The limits of truth and justice have been challenged, to promote an eraof post-truth and post-justice, full of true lies and imagery, which seem toplace us before the dilemma of having to choose between democracy or post-democracy,between elections and false referendums or Respect for laws established byconsensus or social majority. Post-truth as a resource of legitimization ofneopopulism has degenerated the exercise of politics and the performance of thefunction of the State and the rule of law, displacing rationality by emotionunder a set of massive promises never fulfilled.

In todays world we are suffering from a crisis of governance, due tothe neutrality of the institutional framework and the rule of law. The world isheading towards a bankruptcy of authority and the system of representation,which exhibits a democracy that is increasingly lacking in content andmalleable in its essence, which puts world peace at risk.

The post-truth, are nothing more than partial truths; the post-truth isneither a lie, nor innocent, but it is not the whole truth either, according toJordi Gracia (Post-truth is not a lie,) the false arguments of thepost-truth attempt to seduce the most economically and socially vulnerablesectors due to the effect of global toxicity virality generated by theinformative and misinformation of social networks and digital platforms.

Post-truth is something that operates well beyond the reach of falsenews. In fact, in its twisted logic, it is much more important than something,whether true or false, it seems to be true, because this is going to be moreimportant than the truth itself. Not only do the truths lie, but the lies liein a sinuous, invisible and everyday dialectic that ends up being accepted asthe appearance of truth.

In todays business dynamics, the market economy is giving space to thereputation economy. What it is, fundamentally, is how the reputation of acompany has as much value as that of its financial assets. What is the factorthat gives this relief ?: the risk factor.

The companys reputation translates into credibility and reliability ofits investors, customers, employees, suppliers, public opinion and society. Andin the same way that the image was preserved from the risks and dares of theadvertising language, capable of making promises not completely enforceable,or, false, also the reputation must be safe from the claims subjective andaxiologically neutral of post-truth and post-fact.

Building trust lies, is one of the great challenges of corporatecommunication. Hence the need to align, according to the approach of theconsultant and communication strategist which is to safeguard the reputationalcapital of the company or institution.

The characteristic, par excellence, of that environment is given at thealternative media, capable of, through a tweet, a message via Whatsapp, anInstagram or Snapchat image, or, a statement on Facebook, a blog particular oran alert to the virtual communities of LinkedIn, create a parallel publicopinion, more belligerent, more fierce and less respectful than public opinion,different from the published opinion, which is structured in conventionalmedia.

The overwhelming force of autonomy that fuels the digital turn ofcommunication has diminished the credibility of the media, which are afundamental support of corporate communication. The dance between non-truth andpost-truth generates a space that can only lead society, as a whole, to aninadmissible predominance of chaos.

We live in the era of digital information and knowledge. But do wecontrol the digital information or does it control us, supported by theartificial and the posthuman? Will there be an algorithm that goes ahead withthe answer? Perhaps.

From our partner InternationalAffairs


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Diaspora review: a rave for the senses, a future that has already arrived – The Conversation AU

Posted: October 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm

Diaspora, a production by Chamber Made, sets out to explore the nature of consciousness as society moves closer to the post-human digital realm.

It is a concept inspired by Australian Greg Egans eponymous science fiction novel. As creator Robin Fox (who collaborated with artistic director Tamara Saulwick and co-composer Erkki Veltheim) explains, Diaspora is a science fiction revelation which we are already experiencing.

A feast for the senses reminiscent at times of an all-night rave or the film Bladerunner, the work bathes the entire SUBSTATION space with broad spectrum frequencies of light and sound.

Fox delivers full sonic immersion through sub-bass pulsations felt by the audiences bodies more than heard using undulating old-school synthesizers to represent the pasts vision for our future-present. The moog analog synthesizer and ondes musicales (a 1920s electronic keyboard) are beautifully played by Madeline Flynn.

Alongside her theremin (an instrument noted for its eerie tones and hands-free playing technique), Georgina Darvidis compelling vocals filtered through synthesizer and a vocoder to reduce their bandwidth create the sonic illusion of a posthuman melody for Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The treatment is reminiscent of Max Matthews 1961 synthesised voice on Bicycle Built for Two, made famous in Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Another sonic layer features the extraordinarily virtuosic electric violin of Veltheim, which helps to bridge digital and analogue sound worlds. At one point a Bach partita emanates from his violin, but so heavily filtered that only fragments could be heard. The effect was ethereal.

But despite the impressive sonic techniques, the highlight of the performance was the high definition suspended three-dimensional hologram-like image. This centrepiece evolves over the course of the show from an embryo to an artificially intelligent consciousness.

Beginning as nucleus it moves from womb to human brain to the representation of active neural networks engaged in transmitting complex code. Eventually morphs into a single suspended eyeball, reminiscent of Samuel Becketts plays or Janet Frames short story Solutions, in which the body is gradually deconstructed over the course of the work.

Conversely, Diaspora gradually constructs, piece by piece, a virtual being. Using a 19th-century theatrical illusion technique known as Peppers Ghost, Fox alongside video artist and system designer Nick Roux create effective illusions by bouncing images off Perspex surfaces to produce a spectre performer.

As a musician, I became aware I was continually drawn to the visual, fixated by the projections. The music, then, sonifies these images, creating a multidimensional sensory environment in which ultimately the visual reigns.

The eyeball becomes a writhing three-armed figurine, gliding sensually to the rhythms supplied by only vaguely human musicians. The glitchy, distorted human voice becomes the ultimate sonic metaphor for the posthuman body. We still hear Roland Barthes Grain of the Voice, but in this choppy, vocoder rendition, it no longer communicates in a language we understand.

Other disembodied limbs start to dance, suspended in midair, accompanied by an upbeat jig on the fiddle, drum machine, and synthesised vocals reminiscent of Paul Lansky and Laurie Anderson.

Finally, out of a lit galaxy of zeros and ones, a lifelike apparition emerges, set against a raw, palpably human vocal canon, poignantly singing No Place Like Home. Is this the artificial, genderless, multitudinous consciousness singing from its soul? And where is this home they speak of? Is it made of the stars from which we all ultimately emerged? The audience might feel the urge, as I did, to plunge hands and feet into real soil, to feel firm ground.

As our society frets about the potential power of artificial intelligence, Fox urges us not to overlook the prospect that technology could not only save us, but could also be a beautiful moment in the evolution towards an ethereal and non-body consciousness.

Diaspora is quixotic, atmospheric, visually and sonically spectacular. It is a powerful immersion for the senses, a meditation on a posthuman future that is upon us. Does this works digital dream represent the promised utopia that it sets out to portray? This rendition seems chillingly apocalyptic.

The work aims to show the evolution of a new lifeform, but ultimately, through sensory saturation, it is the audience themselves who achieve the altered state of consciousness a profoundly moving out-of-body experience.

Diaspora is at The SUBSTATION until 6 October


Diaspora review: a rave for the senses, a future that has already arrived - The Conversation AU

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Ozzfest 2001: Where Are They Now? The Second Millennium – Metal

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

While the US crowd was surely jealous that Tool and Soulfly only performed on the two UK dates, Ozzfest 2001 still boasted a hell of a line up. Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Black Label Society, and Taproot made their return to share the stage with newcomers like Mudvayne, Drowning Pool, and Marilyn Manson.

A handful of bands on the tour were short lived (Pressure 4-5, No One, and Systematic, to name a few) but were still fortunate enough to hear from the majority of these artists. Here are three from the second stage you may have forgotten about that are still out there rocking.

Formed in 1996, The Union Underground released one studio album, An Education In Rebellion, before disbanding in 2002 to focus on other projects. Bassist John Moyer went on to play with Disturbed; Bryan Scott fronted Cult To Follow and Into The Fire. For over a decade, it seemed like the band was finished. In 2016, Scott announced that a new lineup and new music were coming soon. They are currently recording a new EP and have been touring throughout the summer.

The first and only band signed under Marilyn Mansons Posthuman record label, Godheads goth/metal/industrial mix made them a perfect addition to this diverse Ozzfest. With ten albums under theirbelt, Godheadwas able to bolster a strong underground and mainstream following. Their last release was 2014sThe Shadow Realigned, a remix of 2006sThe Shadow Line). Vocalist Jason Miller, however, has kept himself busy as a solo artist playing country music thats Though Godhead is not currently active, they havent worn out their welcome and could certainly make a comeback if Miller finds the time.

Hailing from South Florida,Nonpointhas been churning out new music every few years since 1997. Songs like What A Day, Bullet With A Name, and their cover of In The Air Tonight continue to make the radio rounds.Nonpointmay not be as prominent as they were back in the early 2000s, but their consistency to deliver enjoyable music makes them a great supporting act for many of todays groups.

Looking at the lineup today, it seems a little out of place to see Papa Roach and Linkin Park sharing the stage with Mudvayne and Slipknot, but Crazy Town is by far the most surprising band on the list. While Butterfly did enjoy a comparable amount of radio play around the world similar to Last Resort and In The End, its just hard to imagine that the same crowd moshing to Dig and Down with the Sickness would be singing youre my butterfly, sugar baby. Still, thats the beauty of Ozzfest, right?

And to answer your burning question, yes, Crazy Town is still touring.

Ozzfest 2001 included another fantastic lineup full of bands that are still touring today. Though we will probably never get Papa RoachandCrazy Townon the same tour as American Head ChargeandHatebreedagain, this incarnation of the festival offered a mix of music that would be replicated the following year. Once again, Ozzfest 2001 brought metal fans across the US a show that could not be missed.

Read previous Ozzfest Nostalgia columns here

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How religious and non-religious people view the apocalypse – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Posted: at 6:30 pm

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
How religious and non-religious people view the apocalypse
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The third issue concerns existential risks, or events that would permanently prevent humanity from achieving a superior posthuman civilization, described by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom as a society of technologically highly enhanced beings with ...

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How religious and non-religious people view the apocalypse - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week – New York Times

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 5:32 am

Photo DAngelo Lovell Williamss Structural Dishonesty, on view at Higher Pictures. Credit Higher Pictures DANGELO LOVELL WILLIAMS

Through Sept. 2. Higher Pictures, 980 Madison Avenue, Manhattan; 212-249-6100,

The 10 reverberant color photographs in DAngelo Lovell Williamss show at Higher Pictures form one of the years best gallery debuts. Seemingly uncomplicated and improvisational, the works set off startling strings of associations and meaning, tearing through references to race, gender, eroticism, art, fashion, culture and history like crashing dominoes. Yet silence reigns: All is encompassed and centered by the presence of the artist, who is usually shown leveling a steady, slightly quizzical gaze at the camera, and the certainty with which he wields his black, male body as shape-shifting subject and material.

This happens with special power in Structural Dishonesty, a title that resonates with the phrase institutional racism. We see Mr. Williams seated, bare chested, against a wall of raw plywood, in a state of extreme inhale. His chest is pulled up so that his waist is tiny, seemingly corseted; his flaring rib cage suggests a padded bosom, especially because he delicately touches his throat, as if fingering jewels. It is the exaggerated silhouette of a 19th-century woman of wealth, straight from the novels of Edith Wharton or Henry James, as well as a discreetly ambiguous, possibly homoerotic come-on, given his unbuckled belt and unzipped pants. But also here are intimations of horror: slaves cabins, 19th-century photographs of slaves backs scarred by flogging, the open pants of lynching victims.

In Face Down, Ass Up, the artist bends over in a corner, in front of a wall covered with flowered fabric. We see only his backside, his white briefs and the vulvalike shape of pink edged in yellow at the center: It is menses and a sign of torture, yet oddly painterly and artificial, like the image of a stigmata lifted from some over-the-top painting of a saint. Fleurish shows him naked against a dark turquoise wall, seated on a folded quilt atop a thick cabinet with his feet barely touching the floor. His genitals are obscured by a phallic vase whose long-stemmed blossoms frame his face: a childlike yet imperial dandy an analogy aided by the titles hints of flourish and flneur.

The Lovers shows the heads of two black men kissing through the veils of reversed black do-rags. The taboo of black male love is evoked, while the frustrated white couple of Ren Magrittes identically titled Surrealist landmark white-shrouded and heterosexual is inverted. These disarmingly casual yet solemnly astute images are performances that aim for the hearts of many matters.


Through Sept. 3. New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-219-1222,

It may be hard for tolerant, art-loving souls to resist the urge to groan when reading pretentious titles for artworks. Consider Elaine Cameron-Weirs viscera has questions about itself it pushed the corner of the room down from behind so that it could not move and delivered the following message: it are now in an erogenous zone. In altered-state subcutanean tantric the skingrip palpable, it, for a sculpture from 2017. Luckily, I saw the works in Ms. Cameron-Weirs New Museum exhibition before encountering the titles.

These pieces are rather good, harnessing a variety of materials and employing them toward evocative, sensual and slightly menacing ends. The viscera has questions about itself sculpture, suspended midair and held taut, looks like a suit of chain metal or flayed skin. Snake 8 (2017) has copper scales that cascade from the ceiling, while another sculpture with a torturously long title consists of a trough lined with a lattice of small transformers and amber-colored labdanum resin, which serves as the base for some incense and perfume (although the scent is mild here).

The show feels vaguely medieval in its visual and alchemical references (a silver human skull in one sculpture evokes a Renaissance memento mori or vanitas symbol), but fittingly contemporary too. Its title, viscera has questions about itself, signals our posthuman moment, in which artists imagine a world where objects and organisms are imagined to have as much agency as large-brained bipeds. Like Alberto Giacometti and Kiki Smith, Ms. Cameron-Weir pushes the limits of figurative sculpture, suggesting the human body in flux a kind of deconstructed spiritual-biological machine. And the titles, despite their preciousness, develop this even further.


A version of this review appears in print on August 18, 2017, on Page C17 of the New York edition with the headline: Galleries.

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Dawn of posthuman age – The Statesman

Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm

What if you could edit your genetic code as easily as you can edit a sentence you write on Microsoft Wordwould you do it? And if so, how far would you go? In the near future, that will not be a hypothetical question as the first major step towards successful gene editing has already taken place.

Scientists in the US have now revealed that they have for the first time edited out a dangerous genetic mutation that causes heart disease from a human embryo using a revolutionary gene-editing technique called CRISPR. Last year, China became the first country to use this technique to attempt to cure lung cancer in a human; previously CRISPR has been used to develop TB-resistant cows.

Due to US regulations, which strictly bar allowing edited embryos to develop into babies, none of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days. However, the test has paved the way for a future in which we may not only see genetic disease eliminated, but also the ethically questionable creation of designer babies and, eventually, superhumans.

Welcome to the post-human age that promises wonders and terrors in equal measure. Take cyborgs. It now seems inevitable that some kind of integration of man and machine will increasingly be the norm; in many ways its already happening. Pacemakers have been used for decades, as have cochlear implants.

Britains National Health Service has also okayed the implantations of the Argus II bionic eye which can restore sight in some cases of blindness, and more recently people with severe spinal injuries resulting in paralysis have been able to regain the partial use of their limbs thanks to computer chips implanted in their brains.

In another experiment, a man paralysed from the waist down was able to control a robotic arm thanks to electrodes implanted in the brain, and actually feel what the robotic arms was grasping. Taken further, brain implants aimed at repairing or enhancing memory can also help patients suffering from Alzheimers and work in this field is advancing at a rapid clip.

There are more mundane applications as well, of course, and identification chips are already in use: Verichip is one example, and is being implanted into Alzheimers patients and contains information about their identity and medical condition, meant to be accessed by doctors or in case the patient gets lost.

Naturally, corporations are getting into the game as well, and one company in Wisconsin has implanted rice-sized microchips in its employees hands which perform the functions of office entry cards and computer logins. Employees can also receive payments via the chip. While this would certainly ease many routine office activities, the question does arise as to how much data the company may potentially be able to extract and how secure those chips would be to outside interference.

However, once Elon Musks Neuralink project is complete, such chips will seem mundane: Musk intends to inject a mesh into our brains allowing humans to directly interact with, and even control, machines and eventually even communicate mind to mind. If thats not enough, note that steps are also being taken to create a human hive mind by linking the brains of individuals to create a superbrain with enhanced cognitive abilities.

Scientists have already successfully linked the brains of three monkeys, and in a separate experiment, joined the brains of four rats, allowing them to solve a problem that individual rats struggled to complete. Human trials are only then a matter of time, and will eventually define the meaning of brain trust.

Meanwhile, one field worth keeping a close eye on is nanotechnology the engineering of materials and devices on a molecular scale. Technologists anticipate a future in which swarms of tiny robots will be injected into human beings, working to fight diseases like cancer, actively repairing cells and clearing clogged arteries and even enhancing human abilities by providing us with enhanced lifespans, vision and strength, even allowing us to survive in otherwise inhospitable environments.

Just last month, another major threshold was crossed as scientists came a step closer to being able to grow replacement organs for humans by using stem cells implanted in host animals, and now there is research being conducted on enabling humans to re-grow limbs and organs in the way that some reptiles are capable of doing.

Ultimately, how much of this research makes it to the public at large depends less on scientific advancement as it does on ethically driven regulations and laws, which will likely fall by the wayside as nations race to achieve leadership in the biomedical field. What is certain now is that we are entering an era where we will be able to, at least partially, dictate the course of our own evolution.


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