Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 10:30:19 +0000
From: Sean Cubitt <s.cubitt@livjm.ac.uk>
To: Cyber Society <CyberSociety@listbot.com>
Subject: Re: Prepare for the Wired Human

Re: Paul Somerson's account of Kevin Warwick's biochip implant (Cybersociety http://www.unn.ac.uk/cybersociety)

Reader's might like to check out the interactive artwork/performance undertaken by Eduardo Kac of the Art Institute of Chicago, who had a pet-locator chip implanted, registering himself with a commercial finding agency (species/breed: human; you will have to look yourself to see if he has been spayed).

Eduardo homepages are at http://www.ekac.org

This project, Time Capsule, is at http://www.ekac.org/timec.html

and there is a bibliography on the project at http://www.ekac.org/tcbiblio.html

For me the difference between Warwick and Kac's interventions lies in the critical stance Eduardo brings to the work, an act at once of severe irony and of extreme generosity, of giving his data. This action, the donation of one's _data-image_ to the net community, is also a kind of preemptive strike against the increasingly desperate attempts of liberal humanism to retain, under the guise of protecting privacy, the increasingly redundant legal category of private property. Warwick's device as I understand it places him, via the machine, in a one-to-one relation with the corporate world, in effect making him a biochip of the corporate cyborg. Kac's intervention in an existing database as a public act of submission, on the other hand, concerns the relation between people. Incidemntally, insofar as anything routed through the corporate dimension is subject to intellectual property laws, it is slowed down. Private property is a mode of delay (the contemporary form of censorship): public action, in contrast, is faster, and speed, as John and Paul Virilio are all too willing to remind us, is the nature of the beats with which we grapple.

Digital artists are, in certain cases such as this one, our best analysts and commentators on the philosophical, ethical and aesthetic ramifications of our communicative strategies.

Sean Cubitt
Screen Studies
Liverpool John Moores University
Dean Walters Building
St James Road Liverpool L1 7BR
England

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