[ISEA2016] Introduction: Theme: The Animal and the Technological: Para/Post-Human Paradoxes

Introductory Statement


Non-human agency and beings are typically approached either from the point of view of technological or animal others. The technological and the animal seem to be the opposite ends of a spectrum. Traditionally defined, technology is artificial, refined, organised and masculine, while nature evokes instinctive chaotic grounded femininity. Containing both, we merge the extreme others in ourselves: human, dispersed across an arbitrary middle, is both a cyborg and an animal. In light of this coexistence of cultural, technological, and natural, we ask: where are the intersections of technological and animal(istic) agency? When, why, and how do the two meet and what is the friction that occurs? Is it possible, through closer explorations, to substitute the bipolar distinction with more flexible and fluid accounts? Could the teleological trajectories of humanity be supplemented with parallel alternatives? How to conjointly define feral, native, subhuman, posthuman, or parahuman in code and nature?

  • Dr. Hanna Wirman, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Track Chair