Magazine article Artforum International

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Magazine article Artforum International

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Article excerpt

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker are writers and lecturers in the areas of technology and culture and together edit the influential electronic journal CTheory. Arthur's most recent book. Body Drift: Butler. Hayles, Hara way, was published last year by the University of Minnesota Press.

1 TETHERED TO MOBILITY In the regime of computation, only the opposite is ever true. Here, "mobility" really means that bodies are tethered to their devices; Google Glass may artificially amplify sight, but it also represents a loss of peripheral vision; cloud computing, contrary to its name, wipes away drifts of earthly clouds in favor of the machinic hum of massive data farms; and for all the powerful extensiveness of the net--breaking geospatial boundaries, metabolizing information flows in the form of data analytics--what is really being intensified is the microscopic surveillance of individual subjects.

2 NEURODIVERSITY The proliferation of insecurity and anxiety so emblematic of the twenty-first century seems to have been accompanied by a parallel strengthening of scientific determinism. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in genomic biology, with its pronouncements in favor of the "moral gene," or in computational strategies that privilege big data and attendant concepts such as distant reading. Indeed, contemporary digital enthusiasts like to remark that more data has been collected in the past two years than in the entire history of humanity. Interestingly, this positivist surge has been challenged in turn by critical movements promoting the concept of neurodiversity. Here, images of the code-challenged brain fade away in favor of forms of creative thought that occupy the splice, the fracture, the boundary, sometimes among animals, plants, and machines, and, at other times, in that deeply intimate, necessarily autobiographical space in which individual consciousness meets the full diversity of human circumstance.

3 LYNN HERSHMAN LEESON is the ultimate code breaker. The San Francisco--based filmmaker and video artist argues that we are witnessing the "birth of the antibody"--our Net identities as fictional personae. The Paradise Lost of cinematic stories she has created traces the bodies, anti-bodies, and nonbodies we thought we had finally left behind via electronic operations moving at escape velocity. Reflecting on the Faustian bargain involved in the question of technology, she asks: "If humans have become the interface to the larger communicative body, can soulful automatons be far behind?" Hershman Leeson's most recent filmic project--! Women Art Revolution, 2010--is that most inspiring of all the great counternarratives, namely a retelling of the story of the unsettled present by rehearsing the still unfulfilled struggles of the feminist art movement(s) of the late twentieth century.

4 RICARDO DOMINGUEZ AND D. FOX HARRELL have created brilliant counter-strategies within and through the culture of simulation. Cocreator of the Transhorder Immigrant Tool, 2008, Dominguez, an artist and University of California, San Diego, professor, has retrofitted basic flip phones with mobile technology that helps migrants find water and shelter in austere border zones. …

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