Politics of (Digital) Body Relations (Media Theory)
Kurs Nr.: DM.M-MT
Semester: WS 2022/23
The Seminar will be offered from Andrea Sick together with Victor Artiga Rodriguez.
The body in specific is, in many ways, the starting point for artistic and technological (both digital and analog) processes that explore healing methods on the one hand yet also represent attempts at optimizing self-improvement.
With the advent of modernism by the latest, Western culture’s impulse to optimize everything had expanded to include the body, as can be found in Foucault’s writings on “biopower” and “biopolitics.” In the fields of science and economy, as well as in the areas of health or sports, numbers have also played a decisive role for a long time (the “data driven life”). Today’s inflationary self-tracking—meaning, the collection, collation, and analysis of data on all conceivable characteristics and functions of the body, or the permanent recording of data done by smart wearables or smart clothing—enables practices that involve comprehensively measuring the body in the areas of health and sports. Add to this all of the processes of so-called biohacking, or “do it yourself biology.” These processes have also been included in artistic projects. Control and self-determination, it appears, are delegated to technological devices.
What kinds of critical possibilities for dealing with these things also undermine our traditional concept of the body (body/mind)? How can the body’s own experiences and memories be used to thwart or transform the Westernized mania for optimization? Which concepts of the body are realized in techno-shamanism, virtual reality, and Afrofuturism? Which body practices that are the starting point for experiences in artistic projects also establish a different kind of knowledge with and through the body?
We will read and discuss texts, reflect upon artistic examples, conduct our own small experiments, and share experiences. A few guests will be invited for these purposes.