Our current understanding of technology seems confined to the alluring and clever consumer gadgets which surround us. But I find myself also looking at technology from a more fundamental perspective: extensions of our bodies and minds, enhancements of our senses, strength, productivity, understanding, communication, vision.
These extensions are prosthetics that fulfill needs, to be sure. But these needs present questions: Why are we not satisfied with the extents of our physiology, and instead invent countless new machines to accomplish our tasks? Why must we devise new mechanical technologies to replicate our organic processes? Why do we design device-mediated worlds to replace experience in our real one?
The answers seem obvious at first: we want to make life easier, live longer, save lives, get to know ourselves and each other better. Sounds good. But to what ends? Doesnʼt it seem ironic that our machinery, which saves us from the arduousness of labor, creates new complications for ourselves? That our machine-facilitated, sedentary lifestyles are now identified as risk factors for our new illnesses? That we are often compelled to make contraptions merely to demonstrate our painstaking cleverness?.
As a response to these questions, my work is a prosthetic itself, because it seems that in my attempt to affix an understanding on our relationship to technology I find that there are no pat answers. The ingenuity and utility of our technology does not point to our undoing; rather, it seems to define an embodied experience, which is a struggle to reconcile the maintenance of a physical self in the context of our cognitive and emotional being.
I reference both the body and mechanical configurations in my work because the corporal appears to be, ironically, the thing least likely to be completely understood in the context of our silly technological accomplishments. I make work that describes a corporality which is studied, engineered, and enhanced in a vain effort to heighten experience regardless of consequence; it intimates binary gadgets and gizmos that serve as both facilitators and insulators to the goals we seek; it considers the relation between the visceral and the mechanical, between cause and effect, and between the practicality and uselessness of the things we do.
Further, this modern perception of technology—the promise of somehow being saved by our cleverly engineered and extraordinarily dexterous machines—is a false bill of goods; I really wonder what and where we would be without this pesky embodied experience in the first place.
But that is another question entirely, isnʼt it?
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