Cyborg  

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This page Cyborg is part of the man machine series Illustration: Man a Machine (1747) by Julien Offray de La Mettrie (edition shown 1750)
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This page Cyborg is part of the man machine series
Illustration: Man a Machine (1747) by Julien Offray de La Mettrie (edition shown 1750)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
man machine, A Cyborg Manifesto

A cyborg, short for "cybernetic organism," is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) enhancements. See for example biomaterials and bioelectronics. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. D. S. Halacy's Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman in 1965 featured an introduction which spoke of a "new frontier" that was "not merely space, but more profoundly the relationship between 'inner space' to 'outer space' – a bridge...between mind and matter."

In art

The concept of the cyborg is often associated with science fiction. However, many artists have tried to create public awareness of cybernetic organisms; these can range from paintings to installations. Some artists who create such works are Patricia Piccinini, Orlan, H.R. Giger, Tim Hawkinson and Stelarc.

Stelarc is a performance artist who has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body. He uses medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He has made three films of the inside of his body and has performed with a third hand and a virtual arm. Between 1976–1988 he completed 25 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. For 'Third Ear' he surgically constructed an extra ear within his arm that was internet enabled, making it a publicly accessible acoustical organ for people in other places. He is presently performing as his avatar from his second life site.

Tim Hawkinson promotes the idea that bodies and machines are coming together as one, where human features are combined with technology to create the Cyborg. Hawkinson's piece Emoter presented how society is now dependent on technology.

Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-American performance artist who had a small 10 megapixel digital camera surgically implanted into the back of his head, part of a project entitled 3rd I. For one year, beginning 15 December 2010, an image is captured once per minute 24 hours a day and streamed live to and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. The site also displays Bilal's location via GPS. Bilal says that the reason why he put the camera in the back of the head was to make an "allegorical statement about the things we don't see and leave behind." As a professor at NYU, this project has raised privacy issues, and so Bilal has been asked to ensure that his camera does not take photographs in NYU buildings.

Machines are becoming more ubiquitous in the artistic process itself, with computerized drawing pads replacing pen and paper, and drum machines becoming nearly as popular as human drummers. This is perhaps most notable in generative art and music. Composers such as Brian Eno have developed and utilized software which can build entire musical scores from a few basic mathematical parameters.


In popular culture

Cyborgs in fiction

Cyborgs have become a well-known part of science fiction literature and other media. Although many of these characters may be technically androids, they are often referred to as cyborgs. Well-known examples from film and television include RoboCop, Terminators, Evangelion, The Six Million Dollar Man, Replicants from Blade Runner, Daleks and Cybermen from Doctor Who, the Borg from Star Trek, Darth Vader and General Grievous from Star Wars, Inspector Gadget, and Cylons from the 2004 Battlestar Galactica series. From manga and anime are characters such as 8 Man (the inspiration for RoboCop), Kamen Rider, Ghost in the Shell's Motoko Kusanagi, as well as characters from western comic books like Tony Stark (after his Extremis and Bleeding Edge armor) and Victor "Cyborg" Stone. The Deus Ex videogame series deals extensively with the near-future rise of cyborgs and their corporate ownership, as does the Syndicate series.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cyborg" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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