Panel: Don’t Anthropomorpise Me: Electronic Performance Tools, Automatons and The Vanity Apocalypse
Our world is a sea of of particles that, for no apparent reason, choose to form in the constellations and patterns that we are. Our edges are not hard. We are permeable. We are largely empty space. We are a constant flow, a dynamic pattern, exchanging atoms with all that is around us; forming, congealing, shedding, reforming; swept around by forces, ideas, materials and energy. Perhaps our first mistake is to anthropomorphise ourselves, thinking we are separate, cohesive, autonomous beings, in singular command of our thoughts, decisions and actions. In the robot we then see reflections and parallels of our imaginary free standing, contained, independence in its similar ostensible autonomy, decisions and actions. We believe we can control the robot with programming and screwdrivers. We believe it is inert matter. We believe it is a little creature like us. We believe it is nothing like the complex creatures we are. We believe, god like, we created it. We believe it is a manageable clever pet that never shits. We believe it obeys us. We believe it is a lifeless machine. We invest it with personality. We divest it of presence. Yet we are not discreet entities and neither are robots. What if the particles we appear to inhabit are propelled by winds and flow forms of other ideas, other material particles, other energies? Perhaps impetus sweeps into us from the robot or beyond. Perhaps the robot’s constellation, its arrangement, has its own intelligence, will and intention. Given that we aren’t materially separate from each other, nor in any way fixed, perhaps its will and intention animate us at the same time as ours drives them. Perhaps over time and in proximity, the particles that seem to form the robot and the particles that seem to form the human, can come into entrainment, just as pendulums of clocks that begin their swings unaligned will come into synchronisation. The exchange of atoms, the currents of ideas, the forces and phenomena of the sea of particles might manifest through some dissonant hum across human and robot fields of formation.
- Linda Dement is a Sydney (Australia) based artist who has worked in arts computing since the late ‘80s, with a background in photography, film, and video. She works with issues of disturbance, commingling psycho sexual violent corporeality with the digital and electronic. Her interactive and still image work has been widely exhibited internationally and locally, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Ars Electronica in Austria, the International Symposia of Electronic Art in Sydney and Montreal and the Impakt Media Arts Festival in Europe. She is twice winner of the Australian National Digital Art Award (the Harries), has been awarded a New Media Arts Fellowship by the Australia Council for the Arts. She is a member of the collaborative groups In Serial and Bump Projects. “Dement’s gift is to turn polymorphous perversity to aesthetic ends, let it run free and enjoy itself. The sacred and the savage, sexuality and abuse, are her private square of opposition.”_George Alexander.
Full text (PDF) p. 617-621