The Art of Transhumanism…Part II
Every day Singularity Hub reviews some of the emerging technology that could drastically alter humanity's future. This is some exciting science, to be sure, but many of the most interesting developments we cover won't come to fruition for years, or even decades, to come. In the real world, breakthroughs take a lot of hard work and time. Which is why it's fun to peer in the art world to explore some of the possibilities of the future. Transhumanist art explores the impact of artificial intelligence, cybernetics, genetics, and many other disruptive technologies whose ultimate effects could change the very definition of what we call humanity. Sometimes apocalyptic, sometime funnys, always interesting, the art of the Transhumanism Movement lets us speculate about our lives in a point in the future beyond what we can possibly hope to predict accurately. More than a year since our last exploration of this growing area of global art, it's my pleasure to present to you some of the most stunning Transhumanist artwork to be found on the web. Enjoy.
While there's no right place to start when it comes to Transhumanist art, I'm always drawn to the images of Benedict Campbell. Smooth and sleak, this vision of the future seems to be sponsored by Apple, with plenty of deviant and sly additions to make you think. Plugged in and engaged, the people (human, robot, who knows?) of Campbell's art live in a future where technology has secured our attention to beyond even our current level of engrossment.
On the other side of the equation is Joachim Luetke whose vision of the future (and present) seem positively post-apocalyptic. That makes sense when you consider how often he is asked to create the album covers for European metal bands like Rage. While much of Luetke's work is a little too disturbing to fit on our site, I found two that you can explore without being shocked. The first is a slightly humorous look at the music inside a musician, and the second a darker take on technology. Those who really want to see the darker stuff should visit Luetke's site. Intense and intelligent.
The growing sophistication has inspired many artists to explore how humanity will blend with the mechanical in the future. Sometimes this portion of Transhumanist art will break into the mainstream, as we saw recently with the video game Deus Ex. The promotion of that game included a phenomenal fake website which we covered before. While not quite as well known, the following artists have just as much to say about how metal and man may come together in the years ahead.
Art shown above by Dominic Elvin
Artwork above by ~Eye-Creator
If changing the human body is an option, why not tinker with the very biology of our systems? Stelios Arcadiou (aka StelArc) famously did this by surgically adding a fake ear onto his arm. The art of Kate Clark, while intended as a discussion on the space jointly occupied by humanity and myth, is a similar exploration of a messy, fluid transhumanism.
Shown above: Stelios Arcadiou
Untitled sculpture by Kate Clark
While many artists leave the debate as to whether Transhumanism is a positive or negative change in our lives, some highlight the risks that come with increased technology. Brilliantly simple in its message, Heidi Taillefer's The Most Proximate Cause is a modern interpretation of the Sword of Damocles myth. Are we piling up technological progress above our heads just to have it all come tumbling down with the next innovation?
Of course, in the end I'm a techno-optimist. There's simply too much joy to be had in exploring the world through science for me to believe that it's not all going to be worth it in the end. There are always risks, and humanity always rises to face them. On that note, I'll leave you with an audio finale: Sidereal Breath by Fiorella Terenzi. An Italian astronomer, Terenzi creates her music from background radiation signals from outer space. It's nice to know that the very universe is an artist too. Maybe even a Transhumanist one.
[Media credits are as listed with each work. All effort has been made to connect the pieces with their creators. Please contact SingularityHub if you have concerns that a work has been used or cited incorrectly.]