The Cyborg Body



Image by Papla Lesina

It was 1983 when Donna Haraway published the controversial essay A Cyborg Manifesto. Through her avant-garde reflections she intended to attack and deconstruct the elements that differentiate the “human” from the “natural”, and particularly the “human” from the “machine”.
Since that date, the notion of cyborg has developed, shifted and taken more and more tangible forms. The cyborg body is increasingly becoming an accepted figure within the numerous shades of bodies that are currently forming our social palette.

And today we find ourselves in a time where, social media enabled the formation of a virtual body. A virtual mass that originates from a physical one, taking refuge in the realms of the digital, (rarely sneaking into our physical lives in instances such as when the abbreviated web-term ‘LOL’ is quite literally spoken as lol). It is during these bizarre IRL meshed with URL that we are reminded that our digital and real selves are still hugely distinct. The need for a technological medium to translate between these two masses means we are still dealing with a cyborg system. Whether for medical, socio-political, emotional, or sensorial purposes, the cyborg body is informing the research and practice of a generation of artists who have found in this ‘extension’, a space for questioning issues of representation, gender norms, sexual and racial identities, physical constraints, and our relationship with limits and death.

Organised by the non-profit organisation CUNTemporary, a group of international artists and researchers have been invited to discuss their creative and multidisciplinary explorations of the cyber realm discourses during the conference Live Art and the Cyborg Body.