some final thoughts….

As I mentioned in my week 12 summary post, I have been doing further re-readings on cyborg. I particularly enjoyed ‘Flanerie for Cyborgs’ (Shields), which I thought brought the full spectrum of cyborg presence into context. This new understanding allowed me to update some of my older posts.

In this context, I thought I would end my series of ‘live postings’ with a pun on a cartoon that I used at the beginning of the session:

It has been great having a presence on this blog and I would like to thank all my fellow students for their feedback and comments.
And of course I thank Jen and Sian for their ongoing valuable support.
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Looking back on my engagement with the MSc in e-learning, over these past few years various topics have emerged:

  • creating dialogue
  • building communities
  • identity
  • personal learning environments
  • digital presence
  • speed
  • time
  • space
  • narratives
  • electric portfolios
  • visuality
  • strategies
  • pedagogy
  • ethics
This spectrum highlights the pervasiveness of online activity.
In the context of aesthetic spaces, in particular for the visual arts, the experience of  ’space’ in which these digital artifacts are presented can be seen as a ‘new frontier’.
For the assignment, the ‘digital-ness’ will be maintained ‘a priori’, there is no escape: the virtual space these bytes occupy will be another digital patch in the internet topology. How the topology will be effected remains to be seen, no doubt influenced by Deleuzian workings.
Crossing these imaginary html boundaries will present an interesting challenge, mixing human consciousness with a machine-driven discipline.
I guess we are all cyborgs now, in our online and offline modes,   a surface for ‘grafting onto’ (p 217) Rob Shields.


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Discussing cyborg and identity

If definitions are developed around boundaries then it would be a challenge to exit the strict limits that are imposed on what is considered ‘oneself’, the ‘other’ and anything in-between would be unimaginable. However, if one takes from the onset a definition in motion, the subject can be reinvented. Machine/human interaction in an anthropomorphic culture is by default binary: human/non-human, utopian/dystopian, superior/inferior, organic/immaterial. If we see change, a becoming, the relation is a phenotype: human influences the machine/the machine influences human. Definitions of cyborg situated in a postmodern conceptual world. Have we already exited postmodern thinking? Will humans now rely more on machine data than natural resources to survive?

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Busy going through websites and e-journals grabbing some ideas and references.

I am using Zotero, or at least have an attempt at using Zotero, and wonder if anyone has any similar experiences or recommendations?

This is something I have been putting off, but I can see it would be well worth it and practical management tips would be most useful.

To me, this is my personal illustration of my extended cyborg-like memory mode. Without this technology I could simply not function as a student!


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Religion and cyborgs

‘We might instead acknowledge or explore the use of the cyborg not as actual disengagement of self from body, but as a metaphoric construct arising from centuries-old textual traditions of the body as a material residence for that mysterious immaterial entity variously called soul, mind or consciousness.’

‘Ironically, in our popular and academic literature the cyborg figure of the ‘post-God era’ functions to make implicit or explicit claims for Christian precepts of spiritual transcendence.’

(Of Shit and the Soul: Allison Muri, 2003)

It made me think we have 2 strands, which seem intertwined:

From a western perspective, the unification and separate entities of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, reminds us of an assembling/re-assembling of embodiment, a detachment of human flesh but also God made flesh, and humans  made in ‘God’s image’. The incarnation, entering heaven, promising a detachment (from the body) a raising of the soul.

Cyborg have a very human likeness. Built in ‘human image’. Holywood portrays them as indestructible (Terminator) or have them switching off after a period of time (Blade Runner) as a safety mechanism. In another film, AI (Steven Spielberg) the ‘boy birth’…. All movies skirting around utopian, dystopian worlds, heaven and hell.

Lucifer, a cyborg-like figure representing death, the Arch Angel Gabriel the saviour?

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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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‘Your nervous system and the internet are one’

WARNING: this is not science fiction…

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Professor Kevin Warwick

Brain gates in 2020: time to start ‘becoming technology’…

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