[extropy-chat] Comments to Mr. Larratt of BMEZINE.COM

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Mon Aug 16 00:44:44 UTC 2004

Greetings -

This is my reply to a journalist who wants to pierce our brains and make us 
look like "real" body modifiers. :-)

>Mr. Larratt,
>It is unfortunate that I am not able to post this response to your article 
>on the website it was printed.  Nonetheless, I will send this to you and 
>hope that you print it on your site where it accepts comments.   Thank you.
>It seems that you skipped over any level of finesse in understanding that 
>my presentation was intentionally shorted to fit the evening's scheduling 
>(after tech problems during my formerly scheduled time),and in deference 
>to Stelarc, who graciously invited me to share the stage with him.
>However, even if I had the full 1/2 hour to give my talk, I would not have 
>taken the audience through the metal wires of posthumanity, but reveled in 
>the level of collaborative thinking and cross-technological 
>boundaries.  Unlike you, I am not overtly impressed by dribbling three 
>syllable words from the lips, but find much more "brilliance" in sharing 
>ideas with those whom I value.  This type of "Enigma" intellectual 
>output—aproaching ideas from varied angles and backgrounds—fom designers 
>is far more honest.  Exploring emotions of designs, however simplex, is 
>often more refreshing than listening to designers pontificating about 
>their tools.
>Just as there is a big difference between human and transhuman, there is a 
>big difference between a transhuman and a posthuman.  In the case of the 
>posthuman, no one knows how it will be actualized.  To assume otherwise 
>would be erroneous.  Thus, the best we can do now is to envision and 
>conceptualize the possible futures and to allow our minds to wander, 
>outside the restrictive controls of technology, as practiced today.  But 
>we must keep in mind that convictions for body modifications are more than 
>piercing, tattoos, skin carvings, cosmetic surgery, which do not make one 
>futuristic.  Nor does a cyborg make a transhuman.
>It is puzzling that men or women looking at a woman provokes such 
>resentment in you.  Further, the fact that my biological chromosomal 
>heritage, whether I carry the gene or not, includes large breasts should 
>not warrant such crude commentary.  Further, I have no idea what "extreme" 
>cosmetic surgery you are referring to, since I believe the best way to 
>have cosmetic surgery is moderately and over time.  Perhaps you have me 
>confused with the artist Orlan who uses extreme measures to alter her 
>body, something that I have little interest in at this point in time.  Or 
>perhaps you came to the conference looking for a gothic freakishness, 
>which is sorely missing from the transhumanist culture, much to my delight.
>In 1986, Honda's engineers set out to master the "principles of walking." 
>Such early robotic mechanics is primitive compared to current 
>technological leaps in mobility and sensory adaptations.  Just as the 
>early biplane glider designed by the Wright Brothers (1899) is primitive 
>compared to a Boeing 747 jetliner, which will in turn be primitive to 
>X-planes (RLVs).  The early Asimo is certainly a primitive but important 
>"step" toward the future of robotics not because it is weak, but because 
>it is a primal and original step.  It leads the way for later generations 
>of assembled body parts and much greater advances that will come into 
>play. And such understanding is not so foolish when one considers the fact 
>that robotics has made extraordinary advances in skin manipulation, facial 
>expression, vocalization and mobility in recent years.
>Perhaps you were not listening when I announced, more than once, that the 
>engineering (the science and technology) of Primo would be featured and 
>elaborated on in that evening's Video Fest.  Both "Primo's Technology" on 
>Canadian Cultural TV and the film "Precipice" which details reasons for 
>the science and technology of Primo prototypes.
>What disturbs me about your type of commentary is that it lacks insight or 
>shared interest with transhumanism.  This is not a bad thing, but the 
>angst that you expressed to all other than Stelarc and Mann is curious and 
>one would think that perhaps you identify with what Mann represents, 
>although I would not put Stelarc in the same genre as Mann.  Stelarc is a 
>highly sophisticated artist.
>Lastly, and this is a side observation: I have often heard comments that 
>transhumanists should have more fun at conferences rather than portraying 
>an imbalance of science/technology over culture.  Alternatively, if we 
>have "fun" we are questioned about not being serious enough. Such protests 
>are far too loud and could be better addressed in conversation than 
>pointed at unwilling targets.
>Toward progress!
>Natasha Vita-More
>Natasha Vita-More
>President, Extropy Institute  http://www.extropy.org
>Founder, Transhumanist Arts & Culture  http://www.transhumanist.biz

Natasha Vita-More
President, Extropy Institute  http://www.extropy.org
Founder, Transhumanist Arts & Culture  http://www.transhumanist.biz
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