Postmodern Ghouls

A short psychological thriller titled “Take This Lollipop” has been circulating The Net just in time for Halloween. This video depicts a presumably psychotic man (pictured above) hacking into and becoming irate about, YOUR Facebook page. Not only does the video literally embody fears about digital security, but captures numerous aspects of the web 2.0 culture. The experience is personalized and interactive, as the video incorporates actual content from each viewer’s Facebook page. The experience is augmented, as the viewer’s heavily digital experience (watching an online video, about digital insecurity, incorporating the viewer’s own digital persona) elicits corporeal fear. Finally, the experience is broadcast and re-documented, as people tape themselves watching the video and share their reactions on YouTube (see one after the jump). more...

The (New) Cyborg Body Revisited: The Eyeborg Documentary

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Although this short documentary  (full transcript here) feels more like a glorified advertisement for the video game “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” it does raise some interesting issues we deal with regularly on this blog. more...

Filming Police, Augmented Protest

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Just a quick Sunday post- At the beginning of this month, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that filming police officers is protected under the first amendment. As we have covered before, social networking sites are very powerful tools for protestors. They are organizational tools for peaceful protest, they provide safety to those that wish to get out of dangerous situations, and they also broadcast the events of protests beyond their geophysical boundaries. Now that capturing video won’t land you in jail (or on the pavement) I think we are seeing some important citizen footage of the #OccupyWallSt Protests. The major news outlets have largely failed to cover them, but maybe our online platforms can get the word out. Until, of course, they start censoring protest as well.

Here’s one more- more...

#Occupywallstreet: Social Media as a Strategic Frame

On September 17th, Wall Street was occupied. It was occupied by the bodies of about 500 protesters. The protests, aimed at the unjust hierarchical distribution of resources, were explicitly modeled after the Arab Spring, utilizing social media and a “leaderless” structure to organize a democratic revolution. Unlike the reality of the Arab Spring, however, protesters were asked to remain peaceful as they occupy downtown Manhattan for months to come. They aim to swell their numbers up to 20,000 or more.

What I find interesting about this, is the strategic emphasis on spontaneity, the romanticizing of the grass roots element, and framing, by organizers, of this event as something of a “social media” revolution. This is interesting because these protests are highly organized–not spontaneous. Organizers even went through a “practice run” before the day of the main event. Moreover, the protests do not stem from a small group of renegade revolutionaries, but are linked to established organizations–especially Adbusters, who launched the call for this protest months in advance. 


Natural Cyborgs

Scientists in London  are working on an oral (rather than topical) form of sunscreen. Specifically, they are synthesizing sun-propelling properties from coral to work in the body as a  defense for the human skin against the sun’s damaging rays. This truly is a cyborg technology in Donna Haraway’s use of the term. It is a melding of human, animal, and machine. By ingesting the pill, the human biology is altered. This biological alteration in the human body is caused by its interaction and so enmeshment with the body and biology of the coral–an animal that was altered and synthesized using machine technology in a lab. Beyond a nice illustration of Haraway, the coral-based, human altering, technology reminds us that “nature” and “technology” are not mutually exclusive.

‘The Bionic Girl’ Chloe Holmes Receives Prosthetic Hand

Just a quick link I came across over the weekend before the hurricane knocked out my power. In the video below, we see Chloe Holmes displaying her new prosthetic hand, a $62,000 piece of technology that allows her to move each digit independently of one another through sensors embedded in the sleeve. Chloe lost her fingers at age 3 as a result of septicemia, a complication from chicken pox.

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Tweeting the Quake

Like many others, I learned about the recent East Coast earthquake via Twitter. In fact, it has been demonstrated that the news traveled faster on Twitter than did the actual waves of the quake. For instance, many in New York City found about about the earthquake on Twitter from friends in DC before feeling the rumbling themselves.

See this cool video made by Eric Fischer and follow the quake-tweets represented by green dots travel north from the epicenter in Virginia up through and past New York City:

Twitter has even capitalized on this by making a commercial: more...

Body Modification as Performance Art and Social Protest

British performance artist Alice Newstead is gaining attention for her recent performance inside LUSH cosmetics in San Francisco. The performance has become part of an increasing vocal outcry over the sale of shark fin soup in California. The proposed bill, AB376, has passed the California assembly and now awaits a Senate vote. more...

Epidermal Electronics and The Cyborg Body

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I have written before about the (new) cyborg body, mostly in the form of tattoos and body modification, but new technologies are pushing this trend further in the form of epidermal electronics. John Rogers and his research colleagues, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaigne have developed rubbery sheets of “elastometer” that mimic the mechanical properties of the human skin. This allows them to embed circuits and semiconductors into the material and apply it to the human skin much like one applies a temporary tattoo. Jon Cartwright reports that this material more...

The Cyborg Manifesto as Artistic Performance

Two French performance artists, Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin, recently personified Haraway’s cyborg in a piece they call “May the Horse Live in Me.” The performance, which included a blood transfusion from a horse and walking on hoove-like stilts, attempts to represent the centaur myth.