utopias and dystopias reloaded
Technologies change and the themes of dystopia and utopia in the arts are reloaded with similar hopes and anxieties. Are the changes from human to cyborg, physics to quantum physics, DNA mapping to cloned spider goats, felt more significantly than those of the industrial revolution ?
Will the rich decolonise and purchase planets and the extreme minority of them continue to pursue the very real scientific project of some form of immortality, while the poor hurtle backwards in time ?
A premise of quantum physics is relevant here, in the idea that there are infinite versions of ourselves fulfilling every possibility, but would that be infinitely fulfilling, all possibilities ? What might we be if we were entirely deconstructed, absent of the cultures of inequality, evolved by the experience of infinite computations ?
Science has literally recreated the behaviour of the sun, except that it can not maintain it. If Cyberpunk can come to pass, can Transrealism? At the core of Transreal fiction is the idea that reality is a construct, or is non existent.
Science and art have in common, a process involving the development of a primary, fictional hypothesis. They are sanctioned with the necessity to play, explore and experiment. Scientific and artistic explorations in cyborg technology have begun to expand our experience of our sensory capabilities.
Beyond The Senses
Neil Harbisson is colour blind and has a digital implant that enables him to experience colour as sound. Light frequencies are transposed to notes, red is F to F#. He can compose the music of a persons face, dress himself in a way that sounds good or is a specific composition. He has painted Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, transposing the notes, back to colours and the paintings are stunning.
The dystopian themes of technologies that alienate the body are partially at odds with these other developments. The event that proves that the brain can literally learn new senses, as opposed to science attempting to repair existing senses, and the changes this manifests in the arts and in human interaction, points back to the old theory that the full potential of the brain has not been realised.