A Cyborg, IRL (and not a metaphoric one)

Something I chose to include in the closing portion of my second essay, and find profoundly relevent to the content we’re exploring in this course, is the TEDTalk by the self proclaimed “first cyborg” Neil Harbisson. I was considering posting this talk on the blog earlier but felt it would be better to withhold it for my own work’s sake but also so not to confuse some people (as I heard some discussion of whether we were supposed to be writing about literal – and I mean literal in the cyborg sense of actual technological enhancements to the physical senses – cyborgs, although one can, pretty easily I’m starting to think, argue that technology need not be physically tethered to our senses but simply our relationship to it, and its ubiquity in our lives today and the ways we connect with other bodies) but instead kept it for my on thinking through of the Circle and our technological age. Nonetheless I consider it profoundly relevant and interesting, and it begs many questions not only of technology, but of race, representation, qualia and the nature of experience, and in general really where our world. and thinking about technology as an object, is going. So – watch, think, and maybe… if you’re compelled by Harbisson’s artificial synesthesia and extended senses… get an implant and become a physical cyborg also:

Neil, in my opinion, opens a lot of doors for discussion on the limits of human perception and the individuals perspective, and how technology can move through those doors to inform our experience of the world (although I’m not sure I’m with him on everyone adopting implanted cyborg devices). The most interesting art piece I have seen by him, aside from his paintings of speeches and the sounds of faces which are engaging too, is his human color wheel, which places the frequencies of light emitted by human skin tones onto a color wheel:

We’re all a shade of orange! If you are a fan of Boards of Canada, you probably find this as funny as I do (although it’s also just plain cool from a human – and not just a weirdo-ambient-experimental-psychedelic music fan’s – standpoint)

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One Response to A Cyborg, IRL (and not a metaphoric one)

  1. Steph Roman says:

    I’m going to have to watch that video, but from your description this sounds pretty awesome. I had no idea such a “cyborg” exists. However (and you seem to be coming around), I would draw on Donna Harraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” and the ironic myth she demonstrates throughout. I think it’s safe to say that any use of technology transforms us into something post-human, or cyborg. Wearing glasses, a pacemaker, or a watch tethers us to machines and technology, in addition to the amount of time most people spend attached to the web interface nowadays.

    This is cool, thanks for sharing.


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