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"Taller Mutante" Workshop. Matadero Madrid

2019.02.11 // Workshop

Matadero Madrid. Spain

Cyborgization as a way of resignifying the environment

Human beings have always used tools to amplify or extend their own abilities or sen- sory capacities in some way. In 1958, American doctor Jack E. Steele coined the term ‘bionics’ to refer to the impro- vement of the human body using technology. This was the very same year that the first pacemaker was implanted, although it only worked for three hours. Just two years later, Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline proposed the first definition of ‘cyborg’ as a cybernetic organism made of both organic and machine parts, thus describing an individual capable of living in space.

Until Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto in 1985, the term ‘cyborg’ belonged almost exclusively to science fiction—which is where our image of cyborgs comes from, built based on contributions from cinema and fantasy literature—as the first meaning gi- ven in the sixties by scientists Manfred and Kline was already practically obsolete, with only a handful of biomechanical engineers at NASA still using it.

Haraway’s ‘cyborg’ is constructed as a boundary-rejecting hybrid destabilizing the dominant construction of Western culture, calling on the breakdown of previously unconquerable boundaries which could now be discerned thanks to the use of tech- nology.

In fact, the incorporation of technology as an extension to the body is now present in our day-to-day lives, ranging from the most invasive prostheses which require surgery to be integrated into the body to technological gadgets and smart garments that ex- tend our sensory capabilities non-invasively while still functioning as prostheses. Digital manufacturing tools and sensors allow technological garments to be created simply and cheaply which are capable of measuring variables that the human body is incapable of perceiving and alerting the wearer. They also allow us to establish com- munication interfaces with plants, giving us a glimpse into the secret language of the- se living things, always sensitive to what is going on around them.

In this workshop, we will aim to view our surroundings and immediate environment, incorporating sensors to help us amplify the limited human sensory system and resig- nify the world around us.

< Environment Dress. Museu del Disseny. Barcelona
Symbiotic Interaction on display at Eco-Visionaries. Hek. Basel >


Our work as art group brings together a collection of works and projects in which we study the interrelations and intersections that occur between machines and the human being.

We approach these issues in different kind of pieces: Interactive installations, sound interventions, multimedia pieces, etc. However, the support is not more than one channel that canalize the project itself.

A transversal and interdisciplinary research where the machine, far from a cold body, acts as an integrating factor, multiplying human capacities for equal us to other living beings or mechanical things already equipped with them.

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