On the aestheticization of technologized bodies : a portrait of a cyborg(ed) form of agency
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
Discussions revolving around cyborgs seldom include aesthetics, let alone propose aesthetics as an inextricable part of the phenomenon of the cyborg. Rather, the term “cyborg”, a contraction of “cybernetic organism”, evokes a figure of the (hu)man- machine. In the field of social and political sciences, the cyborg is designated a human-machine hybrid, a metaphor of humans becoming machinelike, or a portrait of (political) agency in an era of high technology. These approaches promote a figure of technologized bodies, that is, the cyborg as a figure of technologically dominated and altered bodies. I will sustain that the cyborg contributes to our understanding of agency in the age of high technology. However, in contrast to the general view, I assert that viewing high technology solely as a more efficient version of “modern technology” is an insufficient position. Rather, contemporary technology should be termed high technř: recent developments indicate the re-emergence of an aesthetic component in the conception of technology. Following this conception, the understanding of the phenomenon of the cyborg is altered. My aim is to bring to the fore the theme of aesthetics in order to portray cyborg(ed) agency without the prejudice of the “man- machine”. The effort to advocate the value of the cyborg as a prevalent form of agency requires exploring aspects commonly shared in cyborg studies. First, the body is presumed the basis of the cyborg; second, cyborg is considered to consist of contradictory elements; and third, the cyborg is related to the age of high technology and cyberspace. In other words, corporeality, oxymoron, and novelty form the cyborg condition. My investigation of these conditions, carried out by applying both classical philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, and Julian Offray de La Mettrie) and contemporary philosophy (Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michel Foucault) in an updated manner, reveals astonishing requirements. First, the body is in need of a reconceptualization; second, the contradictory elements must be reconsidered; and, third, it is necessary to identify a difference between man- machines and cyborgs. Within this philosophical investigation, undertaken from the entry point of fluctuation between technology and aesthetics, cyborg(ed) agency is portrayed as a phenomenon of the aestheticization of technologized bodies. ...
Alternative titlePortrait of a cyborged form of agency
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice Foucault, Michel technology kyborgit cyborg agency aesthetics ubiikkiyhteiskunta teknologinen kehitys ihmiskuva toimijuus ruumiillisuus ihminen-konejärjestelmät esteettisyys kyberavaruus jälkiteollinen yhteiskunta täydennetty todellisuus teknologia ristiriidat kauneus ihminen huipputekniikka filosofia estetiikka
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