Art is Dead:
What is so sexy about the biological today? Is artistic product as fickle
as our hollow markets? Worse still, is artistic product just an aid
in the panic diversion of cash flows? Is art just another way to lure
press coverage away from our mismanaged Computer World? Are the technologies
of Cloning, Transgenics and Genomics just charismatic suck-holes seducing
faux-independent art exploration? Are our artists slaves to the rhythm
of the latest big boom/bust bubble, the biotechnological fad market?
I would say yes, often yes. Sometimes bioart is a gateway drug, the
road to harder drugs, war, creative accounting, fraud and dashed dreams.
Some artists are like unwitting pimps and pushers, hooking dupes of
waning cultural capital on the next born to lose high-risk
One would hope that, beyond cultural hypnosis, vast reservoirs of international
imaginations do flourish. One would hope that there are better reasons
to scope out undulating living abstractions than the propping up of
market schemes. Is it naïve to think that Aesthetes are not all
just echoes of capital-intensive trends? Is it politically incorrect
to dream that it might be possible to hunt beauty for pleasure
for pleasure without apology? Broad, heterogeneous swaths of ideation
course outside of the status quo. This prophetic, often dystopic, expressive
and unregulated meme-surplus seduces some engineers. The glut of creative
fantasy is a gold mine and a minefield. From the excess of possibilities
comes the impetus for actuated technologies. Ahhh, refinement, so pleasurable
By reading this text or any creative presentation, you are incorporating
it into your fleshy repertoire. During a focused semiotic transmission,
more than thoughts change hands. Basic physiology has been altered.
Protein production is over and under regulated by intellectually reactive
metabolites. Pride of knowledge, gullible acceptance, the deviant chuckle,
these are not thoughts without physicality. This page is a transgenic
vector, contagious, infective. Your children will have more or less
bushy eyebrows if you continue reading high theory. You may be too detached
to breed! This is intergenerational selection, grammatological eugenics.
Beads of sweat or consternation drip from your entity-ness.
The feeling of being a morally superior, detached observer is a practice
for scientist and art appreciator alike. The major difference is the
goal of the search. Scientists search for uniformity and rule based
logic. Art appreciators search for beauty, irony or even iconoclasm.
They both search as spectators. They both gravitate towards essentialism.
They both are Playing God and getting very human endorphin/serotonin
rewards for this radical detachment. Ours is a futile quest to commandeer
universalism. Natural law mocks the reductionist. Artists mock our human
ego to its foundation but only for the brain chemistry that comes with
elitist satisfaction. Feigning anthropocentric distance, posthumans
practice fluidity of self-definition. We are the studying machines made
of meat, worms on two feet, bacterial bioreactors, and overgrown drosophila;
there is no human. Certainly there is no superior spectacularity of
essential humanity. We love dross and sculpt to refine our aesthetics.
These days that includes sculpting our kindred. We are breeding for
pleasure in a world of hurt. Our children will be posthuman but not
superhuman. Bodily enhancement suffers the same pangs as other aesthetic
passé-ism includes all versions of human being.
And we are proud not to be proud.
What excites you below the belt? What makes you wet and swollen with
lust? These are the sites of erotic interchange. These are the acts
that make you cum. That is life. That is pleasure, even diabolical pleasure.
Study lust. Lust drives biotech: Fantastic gender trouble. Fantastic
taboo. Fantastic victimization. Fantastic biomorphic somnambulism. Fantastic
reproduction. Fantastic creations. These technologies are actual, eroticised
and semi-accepted cultural practice. Our children are children of technolust.
Jacking online into the spermbank of antiquated morphology, this is
Reason is equal to human sacrifice, a huge fad based on cliques of thin
air. Every protocol creates taboo. Every culture is a cult becoming
massified. What is screened out is an anarchic void created specifically
to stabilize what is screened for. Why sidewalks? Why toenail clippers?
How do these architectures ensure the homeless? Are you off the locus?
We build our foundations on normalized psychosis which doubles as a
cohesive monument to everyday stasis. Fetish monomania is a precursor
to many of our most specific cultural norms. USENET (www.guba.com) is
our best guide to daily fragmentation. The uncensored imagebank of whats
worth scanning is better than the Louvre. The varieties of monomania
are our best next world recipes. Fragments of beauty are all in the
eye of the polymaniac as beholder. This is culture, ranging from banality
to beastiality and back. Usenet is the birthplace of our future bio-cultural
The exploration of life is not predicated on moral grounds. Morality,
or the artifice of benevolence, emanates from a lack of life experiences.
On the same note, objectivist investigation is the money side of prostitution.
We artists and scientists should play god. We invented the concept of
a holy spectator and then succumbed to denial of our invention. If no
one is watching, let us be the voyeurs and exhibitionists in the great
show of revealing nature. But before we start again, lets throw
away beauty and reason. Lets see if its possible to explore
without some kind of artifice, without the gods of logic or joy. Surely
the combination of creative lust and technical prowess has led us only
to the realization of autoerotic fantasies: Veil after veil lifts, in
slippery sheens of translucent tissue. The human genome project, new
reproductive technologies, trans-species chimeras, breast milk pharmacies;
we are our own tormented mirrors. The hidden will be revealed, fact-by-fact,
corpuscle-by-corpuscle. Eventually, it is hoped by all erect explorers,
Nature will lay open, legs in the air. Or for the more brutally honest,
legs bound open in universal stirrups, screaming and heaving under the
heavy-handed methods of investigation. All these novel explorations
are fantastically pornographic but who is watching. She is We, biting
and bitten, laid bare and scoped thoroughly. The original fantasies
are maligned by concepts of beauty and reason. The present fantasies
are maligned by visions of purchase power (feigned utility.) Perhaps
these concepts have run their course? Perhaps they are inhibitory? Is
there an omnipotent atheism that dos not lay claim to beauty, use-value,
reason or wealth? Ask a sexworker. Who plays?
Sexwork may explain why so many of the biophilic arts are tornadoes
of abstract undulation. The animal magnetic swarms in colorfields of
breathing swimming anarchy. Self-organizing patterns mingle in every
corpuscle, every barnacle, every wallet and every insignificant schmutz.
There may be no reason, there may be no rhyme, but we, as organisms,
are implicated. We are part of the macrocosm and the microcosm. No hornets
nest of taxonomy can stop our sprouting morass. And, there is nothing
like the abstract time travel of magnification to prove how foreign
and indescribable a universe we live in. Our universe which we try to
buy and sell. Our universe that mocks control.
Lets celebrate our temporary passage through the vast unknown.
Lets celebrate the insignificance of our petty reasoning. Lets
celebrate the beauty of another world, one much like our own but without
the impediment of faux recognition. The novelty of not knowing and the
freedom of aesthetic-less bliss conjoin to make solid the unreal the
lost concept of admitting inexperience. Concepts are like tethers, sloughed
nerves, responsiveness derailed. Your brain is a sensual, wet organ
not a bodiless judge. It is a giant clitoris not a super computer. Instead
of imagining a YOU using your brain, surrender. Fail. Subcognition wins.
Give up. Give up. Let it sweep you away in a spread eagle interface
of ungrounded mortal nguhhh. Vital flow is transitory by its throbbing
nature. Give up on poise. Give up. Fail. Unbottle your miasma. Seep
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Leonardo Vol. 37, #1, pp. 90-92, 2004: 2MB