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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    There exists certain kind of people about whom I do not think as people per se, but more as an event. Such is the case with Natasha Vita More, to my mind she is an event unto itself, an elegant forward thinking person that carries enough ambitions and interests, intelligence and visions to cater for a battalion of futurists.
    Though we have never met in person (this interview was conducted via email) I have a great sense of personal acquaintance with Natasha. An acquaintance based on similarities of thought and projections, ideas proximity and embedded realizations.
    I have a sense that here is a person whose straightforwardness may at times mask the truly audacious and adventurous nature of her life event, a life she intends to extend indefinitely.
    We need such humans as Natasha, minds that are at present free from the absolutism of their own views, free in such a manner as to allow themselves the divergent and the emergent, the convergent and the openness to work simultaneously towards the aesthetics of the future.
    The aesthetics of our common cyber emergent future is what I perceive in the work of Natasha and that is why I have asked to write about her and with her, this therefore is part essay, part interview, in short an event, just as Natasha is.



    W: "Natasha, you have been hailed as the first transhumanist female and such cultural icons as Dr. Timothy Leary said that: "You are a catalyst—a cultural agent in the virtual salon of ideas." ( Dr. Timothy Leary, Icon ) and FM-2030 said that :” "Natasha is a visionary whose 21st Century aesthetics crystallized early on." ( FM-2030, author, Are You A Transhuman?)
    Moreover the Atlantic wrote that you are a "A superhuman object of desire combining Madonna, Schwarzenegger and Marcel Duchamp." Atlantic Unbound ), these are only some of the adjectives that have been appended to you, could you give a more informal introduction to your life and the way you are presented in the media?"


    Natasha: “I am fortunate to have had many years of interest in my work by the media/press and I am thankful and appreciative of this. There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time, which is often equated with being the "first." I have been called the first female transhumanist, both as an artist and a theorist/philosopher and I feel no loss by admitting that I am probably not the first, but the first within a timeframe where the media turned its cameras on and the presses started rolling.

    As a little background, I spent considerable time thinking about, and exploring geographical locations where I could enjoy unique landscapes. Simultaneously I was deeply involved with film, video and performance. Creating a home base in the ski resort Telluride, I was positioned in one of the world's most intriguing artistic communities, which provided enormous freedom. I believe it was my relationship with Telluride and the social status I gained there that intrigued the media. This was an opposite direction from what I had taken for many years as a performance artist, where my works were produced inside volcanoes, in the middle of oceans, on Indian reservations, and so forth, with, frankly, no time or interest in media attention or exposure. In hindsight, it was a pragmatic decision on my part to engage in because suddenly I had something thoroughly important to say to the world, and what made it very intriguing for me was that it was not about me or my work; it was about the human nature and technological change—what we might become and how we might experience the world in the coming decades.

    I try to look beyond the narrow focus, which is often restricted to a predisposed view of what is normal and normalcy for humans. Many people have freedoms that are often taken for granted. One is freedom of choice. It would be less than dignified for me to complain about being misquoted and misunderstood by the press when I have shared equal time in the media as being accurately quoted and highly understood. It is on the latter that I would like to focus.”



    W: In a paper that you presented in 1996 entitled: AGELESS THINKING Creating Positive Transhuman Attitude (link) you write in the introduction: “Ageless means to be free of the characteristics associated with age. Thinking means to bring thought to mind by exercising the power of reason. Ageless thinking means to practice the exercise of thinking about maintaining a youthful state, both physically and mentally. How and what we think about age depends on our individual goals.” Could you elaborate on this aspect of your thought?


    Natasha:” You ask about my term “ageless”. To explain, it fascinates me that chronological age is still used to define a person. Similar to relying on an IQ test to measure one's cognitive skills, relying on chronological age presupposes that all life is neatly defined by a linear calendar. This method of linearity for determining a person’s fitness is outdated and scientifically inaccurate. Aging is based in genetics and is affected by how we live our lives and choices of physiological intervention. A healthy, vital 50 year old can equal an inactive, sun-dried 30 years old. From a metaphorical perspective, being ageless is simply a way to begin anew each day. I don’t know what to say about the paper I wrote (“Ageless Thinking”) other than how we think about our lives and ourselves affects how we live our lives. The content of the essay considers how society predetermines who we are and what we should do based on our age, for the most part, rather than our capabilities. But that paper was written some time ago and in light of accelerating change and the novelty of technologies, which are breaking down generational gaps, it may not have the fervor it had when I wrote it.

    W: About your connection with Timothy Leary

    Natasha: “I enjoyed the short time I had in getting to know him. He had a marvelous sense of humor. I am not truly knowledgeable about his views on mind alteration, other than the use of d-lysergic acid diethylamide to alter perception and what I have read. We did not discuss it. He was someone it was simply fun to be “in the moment.” I did make a short video with him months before he passed away (he was ill and frail I remember he adored his black and white checked jacket and how he wanted to wear it on camera).

    W: About Mind enhancement?

    Natasha:"Human enhancement is the field I am most interested in primarily because it has a history in cybernetics, electronic/technological media arts and biological arts. Secondarily, it is a broad field and can be approached in a transdisciplinary manner—which gives me a lot of freedom to explore all sorts of relationships, which affect and are affected by design.

    Mind enhancement is one aspect of the boarder field of human enhancement. The areas of mind enhancement where I am mostly focused are related to cognitive augmentation, which includes memory, perception and communication. For the mind, I am interested in alternative personas, or multiple selves of person’s existence. I think this is a sub-field of human enhancement that will grow exponentially on its own as humans spend more time in virtual and synthetic landscapes and assume more than one, singular identity (which is just as outdated as basing one’s sense of worth on his/her chronological age :-))."




    W: How did you become a transhumanist? Could you recount your connection to the emergence of the extropy institute and your relations with philosopher Max More?

    Natasha:” I moved to Los Angeles to develop my film and video projects. I produced several events for the ‘Filmex’ International Film Festival and At Sunset on Sunset Strip, and was a stringer writer for the Hollywood Reporter. I met with a number of notables in the areas of global issues such as Buckminster Fuller, new technologies of creative artistic practices such as Francis Ford Coppola, and the future of social changes such as FM Esfandiary (FM-2030). I produced a few short high 8 films about social dogma and after learning about human-computer interfaces and the biotechnologies which could change human physiology and issues concerning human modification; I authored the Transhuman Statement (1982), a manifesto for human futures. I produced a number of video projects, which thematically addressed individual and global issues, and I created the educational cable TV show “Transcentury Update” which focused on transdisciplinary influencers of the future.

    I was making Transhuman works of art, but I did not know of transhumanism, per se. It was not until 1990 that I learned about the transhumanist philosophy. In fact, transhumanism as a philosophical outlook and a social movement is the direct result of Max More, who authored the philosophy, and the efforts of the Extropy Institute. Later, Max was a guest on my TV cable show (“Transcentury Update”). I was delighted to meet such a remarkable intellect who had carefully put together the ideas of transhumanism into a succinct manner and to have later also written the Principles of Extropy. While I came from a different transhumanist background than Max, we shared similar values and my deep regard and enthusiasm for Extropy Institute propelled me to join and later become involved in its magazine and conferences, and eventually lead to my becoming its president for three years prior to its closing. During that time, the board and I put together the first online Transhumanist event called the Vital Progress Summit, which goal was to unravel a protocol for identifying the pros and cons of accelerating change. We decided to counter the well-known Precautionary Principle with our own principle, the Proactionary Principle . Some keynotes included, Max More, Raymond Kurzweil, Marvin Minsky, Rob Freitas, Aubrey de Grey, and myself. My reason for putting on this summit was that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our children, and our loved ones in determining what choices to make about the future of our health.

    In short: I did not create or help to create Extropy Institute. I was a Transhuman before I learned of the philosophy of transhumanism. I met Max More in 1992 and later became a member of Extropy Institute because it was the most intelligent, advanced and high-profile international group of people who were thinking about the future and far out ideas such as nanotechnology, human-brain interface, multiple selves, uploading, radical life extension, ethics of emerging technologies, etc.
    Extropy had one of the very first email lists on the Web for discussions about the future and technological change, etc. After I joined Extropy Institute I became a Board member and later I was president for 4 years, during which time I chaired the VP Summit. The institute closed down, but the email list is still very, very active to this day!!”




    W: " I am aware that you have certain very specific ideas concerning the aesthetics and the future of art, how do you understand post humanist art and aesthetics?
    How do you see the changing paradigm of beauty and aesthetics? And if you can, describe the relation between your work, specifically the primo concept of the future human, the changes you advocate and the future of gender."


    Natasha:” My theory of the posthuman and posthumanism is that we currently do not know what a posthuman will be, but we have an idea of how it might come about. Posthumanism is directly related to and intertwined with transhumanism; the latter being a means to become the former. I think that our future will be one of distributed existence in multiple forms and will not necessarily relinquish the physiological body. The posthuman could have one body or many bodies comprised of biological, biosynthetic, or other types of substrates. In short, it is not a neither/or situation.

    Humans are far too inventive to limit ourselves with one future. Currently, posthumanism is too tethered to postmodernism and needs a good shaking up. It needs to separate itself from postmodernism and find its own future. Lastly, my view on transhumanism is that it is pioneering, intelligently formed, and a vital part of preparing for our posthuman future. Transhumanism embraces not only accelerating change, but also the socio-political issues that must be addressed, and the ethical issues, which must be engaged.

    I suppose that posthumanism and transhumanism had better think about where the aesthetics of human is headed. The cyborg imparts several interpretations, such as a self-regulating organism, science fiction’s man-machine terminator, or an ironic political myth.
    Alternatively, the Transhuman as an organism or entity is a technologically enhanced human, which conveys an emotional and intellectual desire to improve the human condition. Unlike the cyborg, the Transhuman is based in philosophy and its socio-political factors include ethics and human rights, although its process, like Manfred Clynes’ cyborg, is to self-regulate and evolve. As such, the Transhuman behavior suggests transitional stages of development (rather than a permanent state like a cyborg), depending on available sciences and technologies, along with the intellection and wherewithal to think about social and political issues, which could support or confront its progress.



    W:” Some other pioneers in the arts and aesthetics have made interesting headways into the PosthumanTranshuman conception of the body and its aesthetic evolution , could you relate your work to the works of Stelarc and Orlan emphasizing the differences and similarities and the way our conceptual understanding of our bodies are changing, especially as relating to beauty- acceptance-rejection..

    Natasha:” You ask how I differ from Orlan and Stelarc. We are all performance artists who use our bodies and identities as our art medium or form. We each embrace and employ various technologies to manipulate our biological bodies. We each display our bodies as exhibition objects or objects d'art. Yet, theoretically we differ, as we differ in our philosophical views. The most obvious difference between my work and Stelarc and Orlan is that my work is focused on human enhancement in regards to being different than what is considered the norm for a human and the process of evolutionary change brought about through enhancement. More specifically is the fact that my work concerns radical life extension, a concept that neither Stelarc nor Orlan, to my knowledge, embrace.

    Recently, I was asked to write a short essay for a French book series titled, 100 000 Ans de Beauté (2009, Gallimard pub- in French) in which I wrote, "Because beauty is a process of self-transformation, uniquely based on our individual values and experience of reality, one relevant question to ask is: What might beauty become in a world of Transhuman and Posthuman futures?” To answer this question, I bring into the discussion the Wired magazine cover story:


    “Wired magazine, at the launch of the 21st Century, declared ""Don't Die, Stay Pretty." , which featured an image of Jeanne Calment and myself as examples of longevity. [Ms. Calment passed away at 122 years, and I hope to live well beyond her reverent age]. The transhumanist view is that radical life extension means that humans can live longer, but not as exclusively biological beings. The human would have to redesign its internal biological system in order to overcome disease, injury, aging and death—a pattern of gradual senescence, which switches off reproduction and turns on the steady decline of physical and mental functions. The human would also have to examine its external environment, its relationship to all other species and the earth, and its use of emerging and converging sciences and technologies. Lastly, the human would have to critically investigate possible non-biological platforms to co-exist within. This is the new, mid-21st Century notion of beauty." (Vita-More)

    Regardless of whether bodies are bio or digital, sensorial pleasures are transferable. The telematic, immersive, and extended experiences of an enhanced existence lean toward a highly developed range of pleasures.

    Umberto Eco asked,” is beauty something ontologically self-subsistent, which gives pleasure when it is apprehended? Or is it rather the case that a thing appears beautiful only when someone apprehends it in such a way as to experience a certain type of pleasure?" Beauty can be one, the other, or both ways—taking it into a state of multiplicity. The idea that historically a person had to be located in one field, one ideology, one body, changes to the proactive prospect that it is not an eitheror scenario, but an array of possibilities.

    Artworks that shape our future continue to engage our enhanced existence through the virtual, telematic, nano-bio-info-cogno media. Artworks continue to engage our sense of style. They may also be invaluable in informing this new sense of self by pulling together all the distributed experiences that fluctuate in diverse spaces and time. The aesthetic of a radically enhanced existence may clarify the nature of human experience and the essential moments in the perceptions of experience.



    My practice-based work, “Primo Posthuman”, suggests mind enhancement, but I am working on the next version, which will address mind enhancement. One issue I am looking at is the symbiotic relationship of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and nano-macro sensing in the brain. I delivered a paper on this in the UK three years ago.
    The paper is online at Ieet.org: Wisdom through Neural Macrosensing

    Human enhancement aesthetics can be viewed as an outgrowth of philosophical aesthetics and the science of human enhancement. Prior to its development, aesthetics within the analytic tradition is mostly concerned with the philosophy of art. Human enhancement aesthetics originates as contingent to this emphasis with a focus on aesthetic appreciation of human futures, including the cyborg, transhuman, posthuman, and whole brain emulation upload.

    Aesthetics of enhanced existence, is basically design engineering which scope includes synthetic and natural environments, suggests bio-nano bodily design with enhanced cognitive processing power. The idea of human equivalent processing power (HEPP), brought about by the person(s) rather than institutionalized authority, may give new contextual meaning to the notion of biopower. Further, the activity of ‘giving style’ to one’s existence (Nietzsche 1974), through an explicit transformation, turns autonomous style into an open and enhanced network of styles. Thus, the Nietzschean self-hood as mortal, changing, and embodied (1989) gives way to the immortal, evolving, and distributed body.



    The basic concepts of aesthetics of enhanced existence could be imagined by introducing new media’s immersive, interactive role in constituting experience (Dewey 1980). This offers an opportunity to partially, if not naively, experience the sentiment of what enhanced existence might be like. In media aesthetics, logical description cannot replace personal participation (Schirmacher 1991). Nonetheless, there still remains a tension between the act of experiencing the world and a need that the experience depicts a world worth living (as a precondition) (Nozick 1990).

    Enhanced existence evokes dramatic narratives, which generate uncertainty. Taking it from one posthumanist perspective, embodiment will give way to its reconfigurement by the machine (Hayles 1999); from another it would upload (Kurzweil 2006). Taking it from a transhumanist perspective, identity will give way to distributed selves. The scenarios, if approached like events, forgo the experiential exploration into aesthetics of enhanced existence. Life simply is not a blatant shift in materiality; it includes sensory and emotional experiences along the way. (Vita-More “Design Aesthetics of the Radically Enhanced Human” 2009- pdf)



    “Primo Posthuman” as a work of art and a philosophical outlook suggests that the following will come about:

    • Experience transfer technology for “shared experience” will map out one person’s thoughts onto synthetic platforms, which will be available for downloading into another person’s mind.
    • Macro-sensing nanorobots will enhance human senses.
    • Human life-like avatars will function in more than one environment at the same time.
    • Death will become an option and reversible.
    • Molecular manufacturing will become as commonplace as plastics, the leading mainstay in society today.
    • 100% biological bodies are a thing of the past.
    • Exo-body AI supercomputing intelligence will function as silicon partners to assist human-level intelligence.
    • An internal network of nano-computers will continually detect cell disease and report status to the brain.
    • The Earth undergoes technological augmentation and enhancement.
    • Global Human Rights takes a new turn in encouraging Morphological Freedom as the right for a person to enhance and the right for a person not to be coerced to enhance.

    Primo Posthuman at KurzweilAi.net



    W:”First I would like to thank Natasha, on behalf of the Polytopia project, for the patient and gracious manner by which she approached this interview, moreover I would like to use this opportunity and congratulate her as recently she was chosen to be on the H+ board.

    Irrespective to her substantial attainments and creative work I think that Natasha offers something larger than the obvious.
    Natasha has a knack for presenting a view that is sorely lacking in many discourses of our futures. To my eyes she represents a combination of meliorism and aesthetics, in a packaged pragmatic and philosophical aesthetic realism. In a manner of speaking I think that the views presented by Vita-More are aligned to the current flow of events in the world of thought, especially as regards the need to re invigorate the distinction between posthumanism and postmodernism. As indeed Natasha mentions above, posthumanism is still tethered to postmodernism, as if it is a philosophy that needs a parent to recognize its own identity. Postmodernism, if it can be called a philosophy at all (and about that there are as many views as there are thinkers) is not in and of itself a view of progress as such, but a critique of the manner by which thought and art, philosophy and society operated before their time.
    Posthumanism and transhumanism on the other hand walk straight headed into the future carrying a progressive agenda of hope in the future of the human. There is a certain very clear assessment of current technologies and their offspring, possible consequences and potential risks are taken into consideration in a manner that though not anthropomorphist exalts the creative aspect of the human in re-inventing its mind, its body, its social system, and possibly its very nature. Having said that, I think that what worldviews like the one Natasha espouses, increase our capability and intelligence in developing new modes of seeing ourselves, as aesthetically self-enhancing beings, as ever evolving minds guided by our innate desire to upgrade the natural.

    I am a great believer in the art of collaboration a collaboration that extends across domains, using technology and science, philosophy and art to express and manifest in as many ways as possible the interdependence and interconnectivity of all life. (And that may very well be one of the possible definitions of posthumanism).
    The beauty arising under such conditions of exploration is the audacious beauty of our future.



    About Natasha:

    Natasha Vita-More is a Ph.D. candidate, University of Plymouth. Her research concerns the transformative human and radical life extension. Her academic lectures on human futures include Coeur des Sciences, Québec; Pecci Museum, Milan; University of Applied Design, Austria; Laboral Centro de Industrial Creatión, Spain; Servico Social do Comercio, Brazil; Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, Estonia Academy of Arts. Her writings have been published in Artifact, 2008 Volume 3, Nanotechnology Perceptions, Vol. 2, Technoetic Arts, Vol. 5.3, Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology, Death And Anti-Death Vol. 2, Cryonics, Vol. 22.1, and Extropy, Vol. 17. Her bi-monthly column on transhumanism is published in “Nanotechnology Now”.

    Her theoretical and practice-based works are featured at "Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age", XXX Moscow International Film Festival and Moscow Museum, National Centre for Contemporary Design, Brooks Memorial Museum, Women In Video, Telluride Film Festival, U.S. Film Festival.

    Natasha is currently an advisor for non-profit organizations including Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Adaptive A.I., and Lifeboat Foundation, and a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.


    Endnote:

    This is the first in a series of interviews under the heading of a new project I am embarking upon.
    The project is temporarily entitled :
    Free Radicals- interviews with possibilities

    Free radicals are extraordinary humans that promote the emergent paradigm shift of post humanity.
    There is no claim of objectivity here but an unabashed bias towards a techno-optimistic, aesthetically pleasing future evolution of humanity.
    The humans I have chosen to interview reflect different perspectives of multidimentionality and multiversality as regards the change and transformation of human nature.


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    Art is the language, photography is the medium, perception is the subject.”

    Mohir

    Many words have been poured unto the explication of the art of photography, none put it better maybe than Ansel Adams when he said that: “A photograph is not an accident - it is a concept.”
    The concept of photography as an art of juxtaposition is the subject matter of Mohir’s photography. Being a rogue philosopher and a self-proclaimed introspective artist, he uses his camera as an extension of his thought process. Denying the inevitability of the chaotic perspective, Mohir embeds a deconstruction thesis of the object into his photography, reconstructing the image he envisions by cracking the pose to reveal the absurd.

    It would be shortsighted of me to try and configure a verbal representation of the conversations I have had with him regarding his, at times, difficult, images. Nevertheless, having had the privilege to interview Mohir about his art and vision I have tried to reconstruct as best possible the gist of the talks.

    I am a great believer in art and design as forms of mentation and representation that excite our own desire to articulate certain kinds of sensations that are extremely difficult if not utterly impossible to render in words. Certain artists have this unusual capability to herald a new mind sense using their own particular skills, such is to my mind, the art of Mohir. By combining sophisticated methods of representation and philosophical insights into the actuality of his photography he is able to transcend the inherent limitation of perception and provide for us a visual representation of his vision of our futures.



    Disembodied juxtapositions

    The Photography of Mohir (Michael Lustig)- An interview





    Would you care to explain why do you call this body of works disembodied juxtapositions?

    Mohir: ..I see the term juxtapositions as describing the different layers of cultural realities we are continuously bombarded and impressed by and with. The main problem with our minds is that we are unable to juxtapose these different realities as a coherent picture in immediacy, since evolutionary wise we are wired to apprehend distinctions and separations, therefore consistently separating the layers that make up the fabric of reality. Disembodiment I use to relate to the factuality of our media mediated perceptions of separation, embodiment is a feature of our lives, we are embodied creatures, for now at least, and the sensation of carnality is what gives us the knowledge of our existence. When I say disembodiment I mean to show that the culture we experience is simultaneously both engendering carnality and distancing our sensations from the texts we write and the stories we tell. Disembodied juxtapositions therefore I see as an expression of the re-arrangement, or re-cohering if you like, of the pulse of life with the rhythm of culture.



    How does your photography attain this re-coherence or re-arrangement?

    Mohir: ..by projecting and using a live model and using an image and sometimes fabrics (such as plain silk, colored cotton and the like) I try to create an image that precludes focusing on a unique and given set of reality or layers of realities, in that fashion I try and portray the enmeshing that is actually happening within our minds. This does not allow the observer to disregard some of these realities to favor a set of biases, because of the technique I use, I empower the apparent contradiction between these different kind of realities, I try in fact to reach a visual representation of that which happens in my mind.
    As an example take the visual illusions in which our perceptual mechanism keeps on flipping back and forth between different perceptions, in my work I try and create images that will, in a sense, force the viewer to produce a perceptual sensation that normally we are obliged to forsake. In a manner of speaking these images are meant to naturally enhance a confrontation of our perceptual machine, our eyes and by extension our brains. I wish to engender in the beholder a fused realism, a sensation of looking into the mirror of her own mind, represented visually in an image. I think about it as extended reflectivity, a process by which that which we see and that which we reflect upon mesh cohesively and beautifully, carnality as a textual self-revelation.




    Can you give me an example of how this appears in your work?

    Mohir: ..take the above picture, its called “human edition”, this is a rendering of a book cover that reads:” Tree of knowledge- the roots of human understanding- revised edition by Umberto Maturana” ( a book I heartily recommend). In this case I have projected the image of the cover to show how texts lose the original meant coherence under different orientations.. Even though there are meaningful words around, our brains focus on “human and edition” creating, as it were, a coherence that does not implicitly exists there but is a product of the process of juxtaposition created by the image. The body of the person represents in this case the canvas upon which the text is being reorganized.. I wanted her posture to invoke a contradiction within our common thought procedure, she obliged me by taking a very challenging posture, almost biblical in her physicality, in a sense she helped me grasp the roots of our understanding, the mental edition of our natural fleshiness.

    This last statement: ..the mental edition of our natural fleshiness?.. reminds of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, specifically when they speak of:” It is no longer a question of imposing a form upon a matter but of elaborating an increasingly rich and consistent material, the better to tap increasingly intense forces.”

    Mohir: I am definitely a fan of Deleuze and Guattari and yes I agree that we can no longer impose a form on matter, but the way I see it to tap into what they call ‘intense forces’ elaboration is not enough, we need to juxtapose realities so as to permit our minds a visualization of our culture as an embodied space, I think that intensity really comes out when our editorial capability is being reflected on flesh.



    If you will look at “man ray on Back”, I can answer your question in this fashion.. in this image my main point was to juxtapose the story of Man Ray (probably one of the greatest artists of photography ever) which really is a story of our modern culture, with the body of the human.. I see our culture imprinted on our bodies, especially with regard to that which we consider important or valuable in terms of intellectual or artistic achievements, for me Man Ray is the icon representing the mental edition of our culture as imprinted on our flesh.
    The value of our internal intensity really folds into the visual textuality.




    you are very interested in evolution; can you correlate evolution to this body of work?

    Mohir: actually I am fascinated by the revolution that science and technology impress upon our aesthetics sense, I think that as we are evolving into a situation of self-guided evolution with regard to our own progress as specie, we can finally move beyond the old hard wired and necessary perceptual distinctions into a new form of mentation that I call juxtaposition, we can at present overcome these, to me obsolete, barriers of perception and resurrect old forms of aesthetic perception and comingle them with our technological know how. In the image “ resurrection” I have used the cover of the New Scientist magazine, that had an article about resurrecting extinct forms of life.. the very idea that through genetic engineering and biotechnology we could in the future bring back species that no longer walk among us, made me think about kinds of emotionsfeelingssensations we no longer consider relevant in our present hyper saturated info-culture. Notice that suddenly the term resurrection is no longer semantically connected to its biblical religious connotations but receives a new and juxtaposed meaning. In this instance I wished to present the carnality of our past as a counterpoint to our biotechnological future, myth versus science, the beast that we are, evolving the means to resurrect the beasts that are no longer. I find this amazing.



    To a casual observer however it will be very difficult to understand the disembodied part, how do you understand disembodiment in the context of self guided evolution and your art? Is it cultural? Mental? Spiritual?

    Mohir: for me spirituality is a very deep sense of the chaotic power of nature manifested through our bodies, I see it as something very primal, very boundary breaking and irreverent, a kind of pushing out and through, like the blade of grass that breaks open the tons of concrete poured upon it, that is why I see our intellectual ineffability as demanding of carnality, we need to feel again the depth of our sensuality as breaking through our superficial imagery of speed. I have chosen to show this by juxtaposing the image of Lola from “Run, Lola, Run” a film that impacted me much for many reasons, but the point is that within the rush of the screened action I saw our disembodied and chaotic nature, breaking through, it was a very connective moment for me, I practically felt a body, rushing out of the screen to meet me head on, a recurrent theme for me, an impression that I carry when I walk in the street, as if underneath all this advanced culture of ours, forces that are as old as the universe are striving to re-enmesh themselves with our motion forward. I see the photo “lola” as the representation of just such a chaos ripping the seems of the image.. it always reminds me how fragile the image that we carry is. I guess that what I mean is that we need re-introduce chaos into our equations.



    About your technique: how do you create these images? Where do you work? Also a few words about yourself.

    I work mostly in my studio, either in Oxford or Tel-Aviv (I spend about half of my time between these two places), I use a digital SLR camera, I like the Canon 5D but mostly I use my Canon 40D, I create the setting and sitting arrangement, with different fabrics and materials and then I invite the model, when he or she comes into the studio, we spend some time together, having a shot and discussing the idea that I have in mind for that particular session.
    I then let her or him play with the setting until they feel comfortable with the design, only then do I activate the episcope for projecting the image or text that I chose in advance, at that point we play and create a relation between the text, the image and the body, with every image I shoot a few takes.
    For me the session itself is a relevant happening and obviously the contact with the model is paramount and absolutely critical, I believe that the person taking part in the photo session brings as much to the take as I do..

    I have spent 51 years on this planet realizing that our future is in our hands, I am self taught and highly passionate about photography, as much as in any other avenue of interest I took in my life, I worked in IT for a while and as an entrepreneur I had my own internet start up.. but my life in the last seven years took a turn for the better with my taking photography as a serious occupation and the exploration of the mind as a life occupation.
    I have had both solo and group exhibitions some in London, some in Tel-Aviv, and took part also in exhibitions in Australia, the US. I was also chosen twice to participate in the juried exhibition at Cork st. Gallery in London for their annual charity event, something for which I am very proud.


    My work can be found online here: Mohir-art and My art space and here at Space Collective Mohir


    Endnote

    I think that art, especially contemporary photography, has, what for lack of a better description at present, I would call, a transformative potential to our perception. In some sense it will not be untrue to accept that as we evolve as a culture and as a civilization the role of the artist, and in this case the photographer is increasingly critical for our well being in the process of change. There is a certain kind of sanity that the photography of Mohir brings to my perception, an intriguing penetration into worlds and landscapes of visualization that for me (being more of a words person) are mostly inexistent.
    To quote the famous English photographer David Bailey: “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary. “
    I see Mohir’s body of works ‘Disembodied Juxtapositions’ as teaching me to see the extraordinary in the apparent ordinary and for this I thank him.



























    Wed, Jan 20, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: art, philosophy, Photography, Mohir
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    Their love was immortal, their union absolute
    He was rich; she just had an accident, devastating
    Medical technology offered a breakthrough solution
    He was open minded, she was unconscious
    He decided for her lawfully, he signed the documents
    Nanobots were introduced into her bloodstream
    He was perplexed, watching her body (trying to)rebuild itself
    He wasn’t young anymore, neither was she.
    The bots reached her neo-cortex, she reached across the divide




    He was asleep near the nano-rejuv incubator
    She accessed across the abyss of meat space
    A swarm of identity laden Nanobots took shape
    Inside him, she was rearranging his organs
    To meet her new needs

    She didn’t wish to disturb him, she felt only warmth
    He woke up, and the feeling of loneliness disappeared

    They were two
    Now they are one

    The person, Daniel Marianne Wolf Hunt was thus proclaimed to be the first double person in existence, so as we said before:
    Their love was immortal, their union absolute.



    (Quoted in the Sci-fi Haiku ™ encyclopedia 2046, first edition)


    (An ultra short sci-fi story using as little as possible to convey as much as possible, a sci-fi haiku without the rules)

    Part of the Ultrashorts project

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    Mon, Sep 22, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: 2019, superstruct
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    Uncontrolled hubris – Unrestrained future*

    To the question 'what is the use of philosophy?' the answer must be: what other object would have an interest in holding forth the image of a free man, and in denouncing all of the forces which need myth and troubled spirit in order to establish their power?
    Gilles Deleuze
    The Logic of Sense (1969)

    I love Deleuze for many reasons, the most important of which is his realization, appreciation and promotion of the fact that a poet/writer/philosopher/artist main activity should be creation, conceptual creation that is.
    A futurist in this context can take after Deleuze and create/conceptualize a future that is not based on pre-existent realities but on desirable realities, this I strive to do.





    To say anything about the future, anything that is not a complete lunacy, at any rate, we need make assumptions. And assumptions, be they as strong founded as we can make them, remain at the end of the day, just that, assumptions. Having said that, assumptions are a necessary part of the game of predictions, or future presuppositions, and future presuppositions are of necessity an inherent part of the manner of action and thought we take and have presently.
    Thus it will be safe to propose that assumptions are a fundamental part of our belief system, from which stems, many (some say all) of our immediate actions and attitudes.
    So for this article I shall assume that we all make assumptions, specifically assumptions about the future, what it will be like, and more particularly still, what this future likeness is implying about our immediate life, our life now, the present about which we are consciously aware.

    Contrary to what many may believe the future is not set, neither is it happening by itself, it is neither a given nor a destiny, the future cannot be pushed and neither can it be coerced, the future does not just happen upon us, nor as some may desire, can it be brought to our own wishful dreams.

    The future in short is an emergent and open-ended occurrence and as such the future is inherently interactive, both with the past and the present; interactive and open ended is the future (so ought Yoda to say).

    There is therefore no need to worry; yet on the same token there is also no reason to rejoice, the future demands neither and responds to none. It does however stipulate a conscious aware state of critical observation, both of the past and the present. It demands a sophisticated mind, a mind rich in experience and understanding, a realistic visionary mind. It demands a mind that is both flexible enough to understand its own mistakes and correct them on the fly and yet simultaneously it implies a mind that does neither self-flagellates nor self-congratulates. In simple terms then, for a sane future, we need a sane mind, and we need it now!
    But what, in this context, is a sane mind?

    First and foremost a sane mind in our context is a mind that is knowledgeable, a mind that has accumulated enough info/data bytes to have a coherent picture of the Infoverse. A lucid representation of the Infoverse, a depiction that is both weaved and interconnected, unified and interrelated, and simultaneously contains a highly unique view of the state of affairs of the world, its aims, motivations and future potentialities, potentialities hidden in the ‘Now’ and ready to be unleashed in time, in space, in mind.

    Humanity has created the net, and the net, evolving day by day, allows an availability of information and data, the like of which the human race has never dreamed possible, an immense amount of information is at our fingertips, and yet most of us drown in this sea of facts, figures, records, news and opinions. Yes the promise of the semantic web is there, it is definitely coming, but it is not here, yet.
    Thus, for a sane mind to be able to create a sane vision for a sane future it needs a context that is flexible enough to accommodate the vast amount of data coming its way and concurrently a context that allows the unique perspective of the individual and the community to which he belongs to thrive and come forward, according to its guiding principles and evolutionary demands.



    So given that we need a sane mind and a sane mind demands a context and a context demands assumptions, we need define the assumptions.

    Assumptions then:

    I deliberately assume that the world, its civilization, humans included, will keep on existing and evolving into the future. Technically what this means is that I am NOT a dystopian, and suffice it to say that in this day and age NOT being a dystopian is to my eyes a grand attainment. And yet not being a dystopian, does not in any fashion implies that one needs become, or indeed is, a utopian or an unbridled optimist.
    It may seem strange that we need clarify for ourselves this apparently obvious reality, that we assume continuity of our present, into the future, however, to my eyes, any human desiring to understand her own paradigm (whether consciously created or not) need be clear regarding his starting point.

    My starting point then is continuity, continuity in time, and in space, in identity and conscious awareness and above all, continuity in the progress and evolution of intelligence, human intelligence on a global scale and human intelligence on the individual scale.

    It is my consciously aware conviction and understanding of the progress of intelligence that leads me to be enthusiastic about the future, a critical and thoughtful enthusiasm that is.

    Enthusiasm about the future, the very feelings that the future promises certain realities that are at present non-existent, is an actual state of mind, so I propose.

    I have no name for that state but a possible description: Enthusiasm about the future is a state of mind that is actually a amalgamation of knowledge of that which is (the current state of affairs of the world), a deep appreciation for that which we are as a species, predominantly our capacity for self-metamorphosing and an unquenchable thirst for life, for beauty, for freedom.

    Humans are a very special species; we are fundamentally engaged in and pre-occupied with our well being, especially with regard to our health and longevity, capabilities of being and doing, our innate ability to remember knowledge that is not immediately pertinent, and more; yet, more significant, is our (almost) incomprehensible ability to enjoy knowledge for the sake of itself, unrestrained knowledge.

    Knowledge, be it experiential, informative or data based, be it of sensorial origin, emotional origin, or intellectual origin, gives us pleasure, a pleasure unlike any other.
    But is the knowledge itself responsible for activating within our minds the higher pleasure centers? No, I do not think so.
    It is my view that knowledge gives us pleasure because of our capability to combine and recombine said knowledge into new forms, inexperienced ideas, new sensations, unsullied emotions, novel horizons, innovative narratives and most notably new fashions of understanding ourselves.

    These we crave: original manners to understand ourselves, progressive fashions to self-revealing and deeper modes of self-reflection, and these, I propose, are the hallmark of intelligence. For all these cravings, and cravings they are, point to the foundational aspect of intelligence, namely, curiosity about processes.
    Curiosity about processes relies on the fact that intelligence needs interest as a motivator to self-advance. And nothing interests us more than the outcome of our actions and attitudes in the future. Hence our innate preoccupation with time and its ‘denouement’.
    I say ‘denouement’ but I do not mean the end, I mean the manner in which processes unfold in time. Chiefly, I refer here, to the progression of our own minds, as well as, the evolution of our intelligence, the process of our emotional life, the development of our feelings, the growth of our ambitions, the improvement of our relations, the upgrading of our social structures, the advancement of our moral and ethical philosophy into maturity, and finally the processes of our world, the world of which we are consciously aware.

    Thus it is the case that Intelligence leads to interest, interest leads to curiosity and curiosity motivates processes. These processes involve the acquisition and processing of knowledge, with the goal of combining and recombining same knowledge into a new form, the form of a fresh perspective, a novel approach and a new insight, an insight into that which is and that which we are, culminating in the realization of that which we desire to become.

    And what is it that we desire to become?

    This question can be answered in many ways, and yet my basic premise here is that we wish to be better, we truly and genuinely, desire to become better. Better in any manner and aspect, better in any fashion and characteristic that we can conceive and/or imagine. We wish to be more intelligent, more capable, more healthy, more loving, more sociable, more knowledgeable, more strong, more feeling, more understanding, more profound, more wise; in short we wish to be better than what we are now. If that had not been the case, human civilization, as we know it, would not have come into existence.




    What is better?

    Better may be understood in many ways, my take on the term on this junction is that better, reflects fundamentally, a deep and unrestrained appreciation for that which is generally termed Life.
    Appreciating Life, does in no fashion imply, that Life ‘as it is now’ is the end of the story. ‘Au contraire’, appreciating Life implies primarily that Life proposes intelligence so as to be upgraded and improved upon. Is this an anthropomorphizing of the concept of Life? Of course it is. But that is exactly what Life allows the Mind to do, it ‘allows’ Mind to self-reflect, to self-realize and by that to self-metamorphose and improve upon itself.
    So the term better, in this context, I propose to define as the improvement of Life upon itself, via the agency of a conscious aware humanity.

    A conscious aware humanity, an emergent complex intelligence, a coherent and cohesive force of evolution, yes this is what better means.
    A humanity endowed with humanism, a humanity able and gifted, allowing the full and unbridled force of its very own creativity and self-tinkering capability to lead it to a higher node of freedom, beauty and infinite diversity.
    A humanity so endowed will truly be an attainment worthy of praise and pride.
    Such humanity, I proposition, as the triumphant goal to which we need put our minds and efforts, our deepest aspirations and highest ambitions.

    We have now for the first time the possibility to create ourselves anew. To eliminate all the so-called “natural” consequences of our origination as bodies and as minds. We can solve the world’s present and anticipated problems, by becoming aware, consciously aware, that we are all in this boat together, interconnected, interweaved, enmeshed in the same web of life.


    (probably part I of a multithreaded paper )

    a note: Uncontrolled hubris – Unrestrained future*

    Hubris is a word poorly understood nowadays, but in ancient Greece it generally meant any act challenging the gods, and what act challenges the gods more, than the desire of us, mere mortals (at present, soon to be challenged) to become gods as well? If that is the meaning of hubris, then by all means let us have an uncontrolled hubris. An uncontrolled hubris will bring an unrestrained future, a future of freedom and liberation, of beauty and consciousness, the like of which, the gods themselves, will be jealous of.


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    2019 Ultra-short -1- Franco the Gondolier

    I became nervous, it was 22 hundred hours and no one was coming for dinner, not that there was anything interesting to eat, just the Chinese carb rations dropped from above, and yet I thought that my fellow Italian refugees, will admire the prowess with which I, Franco, the old time gondolier, from (now lost to the swell) Venice, was able to create a nutritious, albeit poor in looks, dinner.

    ————————————————————————————-
    2019 Ultra-short-2 – The wireless message

    Start wireless message:”
    They are everywhere, they are French and Egyptians, Malay and Brazilians, Chinese and Norwegians, and if we are to feed them all, we need upgrade our Grain open source collaborative efforts. Yes we fought Monsanto for their copyrighted gene tech and we won, but the world lost. What we need now is the latest patch of gene tech for the ‘ Blue Tent algae’ super strain that is said to grow everywhere, yes everywhere! or so they say. We shall see when the grid returns online,
    Sunshine! Where art thou, when sorely needed?
    We are exhausted, but we are hopeful..
    Tonight I’ll sleep on an empty stomach.
    End wireless message”

    ——————————————————————————-

    2019 Ultra-short -3- Flying wind farms and Avocados

    “Our flying wind farm produces more than 20 MW of clean renewable energy, and yes we have our own little grid” I said laughing.
    Jane was a bit vexed, she liked so much the idea of the wave generator, the ocean and all that, however it was not viable for communities like ours, here in the hills of Tuscany, we were too far from the ocean, very different from Halifax. But you know Jane, she still hopes that we will one day go back to Canada, though here we can manage our own little production facility, speaking of which, please taste this Avocado.
    A fully developed, protein rich, low cholesterol, anti viral and anti bacterial genetically modified Avocado, but more importantly, we grow our avocados with the air moisture trap, no water irrigation at all. Its an avocado unlike any you have ever tasted; and these burgers? Yes, Avocado burgers…

    ——————————————————————————-

    2019- Ultra Short-4- An interview with ‘AOM’ founder Matt R.

    Matt R. : “Remember Ubuntu? Well, think of ‘ AOM’ (Accept the Other Mind’) as an open source immigration procedure.”

    Mag: “ and how does it work?”

    Matt R.:” well, it is simple really, AOM is a humanistic movement, made of people like you and me to solve the crisis of mass migration big gov. can’t cope with. We do this by relying on the particular skills and capabilities of an individual, a family or a community. We rely on the info shared by all via the net, and yes, its fully transparent and fully accountable.”

    Mag: “and the results”?

    Matt R:” here, try this curry..”
    This is the result of incorporating the knowledge of the Patal family with ours, they brought with them an age old tradition of herbal and spice, food and remedies. We brought our own know how of organic vegetables growth and we got this first result. By sharing our knowledge and capabilities, but more importantly our concern for the future based on the GEAS analysis, we were able both to transcend the psychological barriers that kept us apart and create the basis of the new future.
    Sharing and collaborating is the name of the game.




    —————————————————————————————
    2019 Ultrashort - 5 - The Elite Perspective

    “ TADA!!...”

    “ So, what do you think ?”

    Naked and proud of it, I walked all around the dinner table, showing off my newly acquired Novaskin ™ V.3.1 including the brand new GRC (GendRChoice ™) pouch, which effectively turned me (visually, that is) into a sexless and hairless being. The fact that we were all naturists (73 million members and counting) was still not a good enough insurance against shock. Still, when I showed my glandular control of inner ambient temperature (lowering or raising my body temperature according to the surrounding ecology) I think I scored big time. The fact that I could walk on scorching pavements barefooted without showing the smallest sign of being uncomfortable was a topic we discussed later, but for now what really amazed my dinner audience, was the color I had chosen. The truest and best color to confront the blazing sun, I had chosen to present myself at dinner in the full ‘SunCopper’ (guaranteed or your old skin back) attire, a perk to all signed customers of Novaskin ™.
    On top of all that the fact that I was now immune to the H5N1 virus, not to mention countless others (including the latest strain of Burkina TB) was a fit of blood and skin tech engineering even John (A.K.A John the skeptic) that used to work with Freitas on the respirocytes project found amazing.

    I happily walked towards my table space carb/protein assembler and ordered a fully compatible, no carbon footprint vegan Lasagna (better than I remembered, I need add).
    So yes, some of us kept on repeating that the fact that we managed to overthrow the petro industries in 2014 , is not enough evidence that we, as the species ‘avant-garde, are fit enough (ethically that is) to pave the way for the four billion persons still in need of reaching the singularity reality. Yet, that is the case when the catastrophic chain of events that started with the self inflicted nuclear, so called, ‘terrorist attack’ in N.Korea, pushed congress to create the AI Manhattan project. So yes Ben.G was correct, and so was E.Y the grid AI is here and it is conscious and it is benevolent and the fountains of creativity are inexhaustible.
    True enough there are still many humans needed in the effort to accept and create the new world we are living in, yet at this point, unlike the bleakness we experienced with same company in 2008, suffice it to say, that we have a future, and a bright one at that.
    ———————-

    These are five short stories i have presented to the institute for the future, for their upcoming game Superstruct

    Sun, Jul 20, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: ultrashorts, Sci-fi, 2019, superstruct
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