Date: October 22, 2011— February 5, 2012
Curator: HSIEH Hui-Ching
In keeping with the progress of science, advanced technology has brought changes towards the life style and social structure in human society; thus, while gradually attached to mechanism and information, the human body has changed one’s biological being and transformed into a cyborg.
The term cyborg is synthesized from the following two words: cybernetic and organism. Coined and designed by two scientists in America in the 1960s, its original concept was a self-regulating man-machine-system, through which humans could enhance survival capabilities under the severe environment, such as the outer space. Since then, cyborg technology has been applied to the system that could either recover and modulate human biological functions or strengthens their body performances.
In her 1985 article “A Cyborg Manifesto”, Donna Haraway declared that “cyborg is a cybernetic organism, and a hybrid of machine and organism”. She envisaged a scientific technology that synthesizes biology and mechanism. That is, a cyborg transcends three kinds of boundaries: the boundary of human and animal, of animal-machine (organism) and machine, and of physical and non-physical. Haraway considered human beings as cyborgs, and she would rather become one. In the last part of her manifesto, she said, “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.”
Under the rapid development of science nowadays, besides a metaphoric concept, cyborg has become a more prevalent phenomenon emerging in our daily lives. The fact that, twenty years after the publication of “A Cyborg Manifesto”, various imaginations of the cyborg—a synthesis of human beings/animals and machines—has emerged in science fictions or films represents how human beings imagine for the future. Moreover, the concept of the cyborg has been widely actualized as a given social status quo with regard to medical technology through which body organs become replaceable components. In addition to genetic engineering techniques can reproduce a human organ on an animal body, and then transplant this new organ to its original host in place of the damaged one. Nowadays, more and more countries have claimed to own this reproductive cloning technology.
Cyborg, crossing boundaries, is the new subject that emerges and exists after the breakdown of boundaries between the humankind and animal, between the bioorganism and machine, and between the materiality and nonmateriality. A physical body is the creation of culture, and the body of a cyborg symbolizes how technical culture has interfered with the corporal body in contemporary societies. The corporeality of the cyborg signifies the changing identity of hybridity—a fusion of crossing boundaries as well as a fluid existence. In this technological age, the mechanism has infiltrated the material body because people depend more and more on the mechanism. Everyone is transforming into a cyborg.
Becoming Cyborg invites six artists, including YAMAGUCHI Noriko, SHIN I-Shan, HUANG Shih-Chieh, HUANG Zan-Lun, CHEN Wen-Chi, and YEH Ting-Hao. Focusing on new media art, this exhibition features sensory mechanism, video art, digital output, and Net Art, and, too, hopes to reflect the becoming zeitgeist through their works of art..