Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Ethnic Cyborg

I find the definition of 'ethnic cyborg' problematic. Reasons for my
position are related to the basic nature of the cyborg, as envisaged by
Donna Haraway. The new nature of the cyborg should have been that of
revolutionizing the status quo, overcoming differences, surpassing and
moving beyond human differences and even beyond human nature. The
proposition of the cyborg as ethnically distinct has for me a very dangerous
connotation, which is that of promoting a future power struggle based on
augmented and non-augmented beings, racist interpretations of ethnicity
(augmented-humans vs non-augmented-humans) and a constant quest for a
bio-mechanical superiority.

What I personally feel is that there is a generalized institutional attempt
to conquer 'new' territories - the cyborg as well as that of the world wide
web - and subjugate them by replicating old frameworks. This happens by
imposing structures and divisions along the lines of already existing
hierarchies in the realm of the real. The ethnic and consequentially
national definition of the cyborg may just represent its ideological fall.

In this context the cyborg, the Centaur of the futurists, has already failed
in providing an alternative to the social hierarchies that according to
Haraway should be altered and revolutionized. The cyborg is presenting us
with an old framework just transferred and transposed in a different realm,
that of the cybernetic organism.
Dr. Lanfranco Aceti
Associate Professor in Contemporary Art & Digital Culture
Sabanci University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Room 2082
34956 Istanbul, Turkey
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