Harraway on boundary

I have just started to re-read the Haraway article, and only now realised she also discusses boundary breakdowns. She mentions that cyborgs represents a transgression.There are 3 boundaries: boundaries of humans-animals, animal-human and machine, boundary between the physical and non-physical.

Harraway suggests:

We are dealing with polymorphous information systems (the informatics of domination) , with the cyborg a kind of disassembled and assembled,postmodern,collective and personal self. Communications technologies and biotechnoogies are the crucial tools re-crafting our bodies. These tools embody and enforce new social relations for women worldwide.

I thought Chantelle’s IVF blog was a great illustration of this, although it is perhaps a bold statement to say that blogs can be seen as conceptual (immaterial) cyborgs…  And there will no doubt be other blogs and fora on similar topics appearing rhizomatically . The associated tags of these blogs support a computer-manipulated, machine-enhanced search, stretching enforced boundaries (html, web 2.0) which are always changing. Forum members and bloggers exist through the computer, through internet flows, yet as humans operate individually, the flow of ideas and electricity blended.

The Cyborg as a blog…. a cyblog?


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I thought the Katherine Hayles article was pretty captivating. What struck me in this article is the concept of ‘boundary’.

As she gives a definition on posthuman – the posthuman subject is an amalgam, a collection of heterogeneous components, a material-informational entity whose boundaries undergo continuous construction and reconstruction – I think key is our interaction with these boundaries. Boundaries shift, mutate, engage, can be sharp and fuzzy. Embodiment itself implies a boundary and ‘erasure of embodiment’ similarly implies to me a distinction of where embodiment is defined, and where it might dissolve.

Boundaries indicate an environment in which there is a manifestation of boundary. This environment can be material (matter) and immaterial (information) and again considering a separation of these, as Hayles is discussing, involves the idea of boundary. The idea of abstraction to multiplicy seems impossible, unless there is a boundary.

All this is pretty complex, I get lost in the reflexivity!

[ I find it takes a lot of re-readings to digest, hope to do more on this]

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week 1 – summary

My main challenge for the week was getting to grips with the WordPress platform. Looking at a blank digital canvas is always a creative delight to me, intuitively exploring the features and graphics of the environment.This piecing together is like digital tapestry, a patchwork of choices which are constantly evaluated and evolving.

Martin Hand (2008) gives a detailed outline of digital culture at the broadest level, including the socio-economic and political dimensions. For this I explorerd issues around commodification and consumerism. David Bell (2001) highlights various classifications surrounding story telling and how this relates to definitions of cyberspace. Utopian and dystopian views were illustrated by the film week clips and discussions on Synchtube and Twitter,with additional nominations for the film festival.Clips on language and cyberculture were also selected.

Mark Poster’s article offered my tweet on ‘Spam’ an ethical perspective. This blog (and everyone else’s) seems relentlessly hit by spam. Interestingly spam illustrates the inherent contradiction of mock digital persona vs the sales-driven activity of companies targeting potential customers.

I enjoyed looking back at my own computer interaction history and realised that I could start off illustrating my musical interests (rooted into 80s electronic music) as an accompanying sound board for my blog. The fusion of sound and images is to me the ultimate realisation of deepening an online experience, be it for educational or other purposes. I had a first read of Jonathan Sterne’s article, which will give me scope for exploring soundscapes. The concept of ‘boundaries’ and ‘flatness’ will also be kept in mind.

I continued with the expansion of my Pinterest pinboard for this module’s topic. I also revisted bubbl.us as I thought it would be a useful way to mindmap the interconnected strands of information discussed.

My plan for a visual sound board proves more complex involving online aesthetics and looking at how we engage with online art spaces.

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Sassen (1999) quoted in the Bell article explains: ‘powerful corporate actors and high-performance networks are strenghtening the role of private electronic space and altering the structure of public electrnic space.’

I wonder in how far the boundaries between private and public spaces are distinguishable? Even the open tabs on my computer screen are a mash-up, with me switchning between private/public, although the private spaces are mediated via corporate servers (in my case Virgin Media)

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