Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday section- March 24th: Taking Myths Seriously / Is Our Media Chimeric?

I am interested in exploring how Donna Harroway's piece A Cyborg Manifesto sets its trajectory as a radical approach to theorization and politics. Harroway evokes that she intends to "build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism" (150). This "myth" is ontological, dislodging the western subject Man in favor of the Cyborg, a creature she defines as a "chimera" or "the hybrid of machine and organism" (151). This new ontology, "our" ontology comes from the work of fiction, science, and nightmares of the unstable category of man or human in the 21st century.
One question I propose is the necessity of fictions for politics. Are fictions what dictate the possibilities of a politics? Of a social or society? Also what is at stake in Haraway marking her project as a "myth"? How can we compare this notion of "myth" to that of antiquity or how we have seen "myth" used throughout the class (for example see Agre)? What are the potentials of "myth" and why do we need new "mythologies?"

In addition, as Haraway proposes we are "all chimeras," and therefore all "cyborg." If this is so what does this say about our media? How is digital (new?) media a "cyborg" media?
In asking this question I cannot help but think of Chris Marker's Immemory. Marker's media object is certainly not just digital, it is a hybrid if not chimeric piece that has moments of film, painting, text, narrative, sound, and interactivity woven into a "spiral." I find it interesting that much of digital media art enables this chimeric form but also am concerned with how we as users/producers necessitate this form through our own being in this century as evolved to the point of a "cyborg" being. As the old western dream promoted a fantasy of unitary wholeness (and media objects like films or the novel belonging to this age) while our new age of a fantasy outside history and culture seem to suggest or call for such interactive dislocated and fragmented works.

No comments: