Cyborg Encounters: Three Art-Science Interactions
NanoEthics 16, pp. 223—238
with Ayşe Melis Okay et al.
This contribution includes three selected works from an exhibition on Cyborg Encounters. These works deal with hybrid connections of human and non-human species that (might) emerge as a result of enhancement technologies and bio-technological developments. They offer not only an artistic exploration of contemporary but also futuristic aspects of the subject. Followed by an introduction by Melike Şahinol, Critically Endangered Artwork (by Ayşe Melis Okay) highlights Turkey’s ongoing problems of food poverty and the amount of decreasing agricultural lands. It displays seeds of a promising endemic plant to mitigate these problems using the seeds of the Thermopsis Turcica, a herbaceous perennial endemic plant. Ecomasculinist Pregnancy (by Burak Taşdizen and Charles John McKinnon Bell) follows the design fiction methodology and illustrates a future scenario through a patient’s diary and the medical letters he receives during his pregnancy with an extinct sea-lion. Polluted Homes (by Beyza Dilem Topdal) is a fictional art installation consisting of polychaete species evolved in time under the ecological circumstances prevalent in the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara today. These works show, that manufacturing life has consequences, not only for the human body and its physical appearance, but also, for example, for gender orders, the social structure of society, and even the environment, and thus for (re)shaping (non)living matter and their environments. This Art-Science Collection intends to provide an impetus for debate about the extent to which cyborg encounters should be taken seriously.
Cyborg Encounters, Plant Enhancement, Multispecies Ethnography, Ecomasculinist Pregnancy, Polluted Homes, Cyborg Macro-fauna Species
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Exhibition: Cyborg Encounters — [Siborg Karşılaşmalar]
STS Turkey Conference, 10-12 September 2019
with Ayşe Melis Okay et al.
STS Turkey 2019︎︎︎
Cyborg Encounters offers an experience of a universe; in between past, present and future constituted of hybrids born from the coupling of humans and nonhumans, beyond species and genders. It lives in the duality of integrated circuits and feelings of monachopsis, defying the order of things. As a placeless local, you will encounter sections from the cyborg universe. In this creation; cyborg is a political, poetic, living or inanimate, digital or mechanical intervention; with or without a body and flesh. In this exhibition, a narrative in which fiction and reality intertwine, cultivates the theories of the cyborg, feminist technoscience, human enhancements, laboratory studies and politics of disability/ability and artifacts.ÖZET
Siborg Karşılaşmalar, zamanın dışında; ne geçmişte ve gelecekte ne de şimdide, cins ve cinsiyetin ötesinde, insan ve insan-olmayanın birlikteliğinden doğan melezlerden oluşan bir evren deneyimi sunar. Entegre devrelerin ve bir yere ait olmama hislerinin dualitelerinde, şeylerin düzenine kafa tutarak yaşarlar. Yurtsuz bir yerli olarak, siborg alemine ait kesitlerle karşılaşacaksın. Bu yaratımda siborg; etten ve kemikten vücut bulmuş veya bulmamış; politik, şiirsel, canlı veya cansız, dijital ve/veya mekanik bir müdahaledir. Bu sergide, kurgu ve gerçekliğin iç içe geçtiği bir hikaye; siborg teorisi, feminist tekno bilim, insan geliştirme, laboratuvar çalışmaları, engellilik/-ebilirlik ve nesne politikaları ile bezenmiştir.
Exhibition poster by Beyza Dilem Topdal.
with Charles John McKinnon Bell, 2019
Today, I came across a leaflet of this project called Resurrecting Steller Sea-Lion Project. Apparently, this is an ecofeminist project, a collaboration between The National Institute for Explorative Medicine,1 The Center for Ocean Recovery2 and The Campaign for Sustainable Masculinities.3 What caught my interest is the gender aspect to it—I wonder how they combine masculinities with nature. It says on the leaflet that males as well as females could sign up to deliver this extinct marine mammal called the Steller sea-lion. I never thought giving birth would be considered sustainable. To the contrary, I’ve always imagined myself to be an anti-natalist. But maybe that changes when you give birth to an extinct animal… They say the animal will be released into the ocean and collaborate with scientists. That sounds a bit like animal labor to me. Is this really ethical? That’s apparently human-centric. I don’t know. I myself used to hunt fish for sustenance when it was legal so I’m in no position to judge, I guess. Really though, us humans have caused nothing but trouble on the planet. My partner and I have been sympathetic to adopting a child from Europe and are still considering it. Europe has become such an unfortunate place to be in, battling regular heat waves, droughts and climate migrants. Instead of producing more and more humans, probably one of the most detrimental species, why not adopt an already suffering one from a less privileged geography? Obviously that marine mammal rests in peace now, so why bring it back to this planet?FOOTNOTES
- The National Institute for Explorative Medicine is a fictional medical institution in Canada, experimenting in medicine, pushing technology’s limits to its very end.
- The Center for Ocean Recovery is a fictional marine research center in the west coast of Canada, working on the recovery of the oceans and the biospecies, focusing on marine mammals such as the Steller Sea-Lion.
- The Campaign for Sustainable Masculinities is a fictional ecofeminist initiative found by vegan+queer activists, academics and scientists, addressing first and foremost the oppression of genders, species and nature-cultures.