Both positive and negative views of “posthumanism” have a fatal flaw: they assume the total annihilation of stubborn matter into either pure information, or new forms of matter that can be reconfigured so easily and arbitrarily that they are as close to information as makes no difference. All that is solid melts into nanobots. This is either triumph (immortality through uploading consciousness! the end of material scarcity through instant fabrication!) or tragedy (the world dissolves into grey goo!)
For this project, I want to argue that these predictions are badly off the mark. Materiality is not going away at all, rather simply changing. New forms of human existence will have access to new technological powers, but those powers will remain mediated by material, subject to flaws, errors, unintended consequences. To explore this, I will creatively explore some of the material qualities of existing technological systems: the 3d printer and the kinect.
I imagine this project as a series of 3d prints, some captured by the kinect, all demonstrating something particular and material about either the sensor or the printer. For example, emphasizing the polygon structure of the kinect scan, or the filament deposition method of the printer.
I’m still thinking about how exactly to best make this compelling, and would love ideas, directions for experimentation, etc from the class.
My vehicle is an airship designed to take the Copyright scholar and government corruption activist Lawerence Lessig to a failed state, where he can encourage creativity and fight corruption. Fitting with Lessig’s philosophy of freedom and cooperation, the ship is made of linked balloon vessels, which can reconfigure themselves to achieve collective goals. In case of danger, such as a surface-to-air missile, the small ships can disperse, rather than resort to violence.