Artist Jack Brindley with curator Tim Dixon are ‘Open File’. The curatorial duo present a line-up of new and established artists at the ICA in the first of a triptych of performances and screenings. The events reflect what it is to curate in an increasingly virtual age and in a time where ‘digitalization and the virtualisation of space implies a crucial shift where the human scale of industry and society have disappeared, and therefore social products are no longer manipulated totally materially’. Linking the argument to the human body, evolution of human interaction, design and object function, ‘Long Live the New Flesh’ poses questions about the boundaries and confluence between body and technology. Benedict Drew and John Gerrard feature in the one off event that brings together emerging and established practitioners in an evening of live bodies and digital image.
Here David Burrows from collective Plastique Fantastique answers some questions on ‘the new flesh’ and their performance that will ‘summon the Neuropatheme’…
Are there any references that specifically tie in?
David Burrows: Texts, YouTube films, references include the ideas of Thomas Metzinger, a philosopher who has been working with neuroscientists and who wrote the ‘Ego Tunnel’. Metzinger argues thatno one has ever been a selfand suggests that this concept and the counter-intuitive discoveries of neuroscience will be difficult for people to accept but that the technologies produced as a result of these discoveries will effect everyday life and culture. As well as this we have been thinking about Norbert Weiner and his ideas about feedback loops, Scot Bakker’s novelNeuropathand other writing, Ray Brassier’s text on noise and genre, the animated film seriesghost in the shell, the propaganda of the virtual Buddhist terrorists and various myths of the extreme past and future.
How would you describe the current human relationship to technology?
David Burrows: The nature of these relationships can only be guessed at. The development of various technologies will be seen as an evolutionary process in the future. Evolution can be thought of as realising many potential forms or organisations. In this, both chance and contingency may be involved in evolution. Most potential forms remain virtual, only some become actual.
If someone’s phone rings or pings and you reach to check your own phone, or you sense a vibration and think you have received a text but discover none has been sent or you check your phone when you see others doing so, your body has already been prepared for the next evolutionary stage.
As well as this, in the past, the relation of technology and humans has been understood through metaphors, fiction, images and myth, all of which can have an effect of the development of different technologies and everyday life. This is true today (an example being The Cloud) and will be so in the future.
DD: How does your work address this?
David Burrows: The work is a mytheme (or mysteme) for Neuropatheme (aka subject-without-experience, fux-the-shadow, otalP-the-empty-cave). Neuropatheme processes affects as information. Neuropatheme when fully plugged in realises that Neuropatheme is a sequence of processes and connections (exactly the same as being unplugged). Neuropatheme, feeling everything and nothing, is free of having to produce meaning and experiments with producing different feedback loops.
How has thinking, theory and practice developed to address emergent technologies?
David Burrows: In diverse ways but always in part as imaginary, fiction or myth.
DD: How do you think art and the art world is adapting?
David Burrows: In the 60s and 70s, artists now called conceptual artists or associated with expanded art practice or expanded cinema where seen as radical but today they might be seen as pioneers and promoters of new and relatively available technology (fax machines, video, cheap air flights, Xerox, telephones, TV monitors) which transformed the world, commerce, leisure and culture. In the future, the same observation will probably be made about many of today’s artists.
DD: Most prescient and predictive artist/writer?
David Burrows: Nick Land and Sadie Plant
What are the dangers with our current mode of technological interaction?
David Burrows: Narcissism