Angels, Animals and Cyborgs: Visions of Human Enhancement at the Cornelia Street Cafe
An illustrated lecture by Salvador Olguín
***IN MANHATTAN at The Cornelia Street Cafe as part of the HUMAN+ series***
Deplored by many as yet another fashionable post, and defended by its supporters because it encompasses our current fears, hopes and changing reality, posthumanism is an attempt to think seriously about the possible long-term effects of technology in our society, our bodies and our mind. According to some advocates of posthumanism, these effects will be so deep, that they might change the human species as we know it, allowing humans to transcend the boundaries of their mortal lives by technologically altering or enhancing our bodies.
The desire to go beyond the limitations of our condition as biological beings has been constantly present throughout history, and is can be linked to mystical and religious discourses. From theological discussions regarding the nature of the human body after the resurrection of the flesh, to the projections of today’s futurists, and including figures such as the Golem, Frankenstein’s monster, angels and cyborgs, our culture has produced a collection of bodies with wider possibilities than ours. Myth, science, art and literature have treated the topic of body enhancement, considering its pros, its cons and its limitations. In a time when pacemakers, prostheses, cloning and cryogenics are making human enhancement a reality, it can be fruitful to look back and compare the wildest fantasies of posthumanism with its intellectual predecessors, to get a better picture of what is going on, and try to sketch a genealogy of this set of ideas.
Salvador Olguín is a writer and researcher born in Monterrey, Mexico, currently based in Brooklyn. He holds a MA in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU. His work has been published in magazines and journals in Mexico, the US and Spain. He has worked extensively with cultural artifacts connected to the representation of Death, and has developed critical studies on post-humanism and the relation between literature and photography. In 2010 he received the Carmen Alardin Poetry Award granted by Mexico’s National Council for Culture and the Arts for his book La Carabela Portuguesa. Olguin is the founder and director of Borderline Projects.
This talk was originally produced at Observatory in Brooklyn by Morbid Anatomy.
About the series:
Cornelia Street Cafe and Observatory present a series of Observatory talks in the borough of Manhattan: HUMAN+ (You’ll Be Partly Plastic When You Die): Lectures on posthumanism, machine music, transhumanism, and machine love. These talks will introduce Observatory to a new audience and give presenters the opportunity to update their work.
Produced by the Hollow Earth Society and Ted Enik. Originally produced at Observatory. Thanks to our hosts, Cornelia Street Cafe, and our presenters: Kip Rosser, Laura G. Duncan, and Salvador Olguín.