Fine Art > Lament of the Cyclops

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"Body is one great reason. A plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a flock and a herdsman..."
- Nietzsche

As a child, I heard a fable explaining why the Cyclopes had only one eye. They traded an eye for the ability to see the future in an ill fated deal. The eye was taken but they were given only the power to foresee the day of their own impending death. Humans have always worried about their biological form’s fragile nature, tailoring technological and social devices to distance us from the abject elements of our existence. How would we live differently if we knew our expiration date? Would it diminish our fear of death and ease existential angst, or drive us mad?

Each technological evolution mediates our life experiences and creates new modes of interacting with the world. These in turn profoundly affect our sense of self. The mode we are developing in the digital age is very fracturing and heightens the feeling of disconnection between mind and body. Our consciousness is at once more internal and also more external. We image the body’s interior more invasively than ever, but also project our personalities and representations into the global community in a dematerialized fashion.

A diagnosis of disease can feel like a label and our health can become a fixation. These are the conflicts medical images help mediate. We seek full physical disclosure for comfort and to ease the dreadful thought that someday we will die and cease to exist. Medical science of course increases the quality of our lives, but we can’t expect a magical fountain of youth to fix all our problems.

My video vanitas expresses this anesthetizing limbo of waiting, worrying, and hoping. I merge my figure’s exterior representations with interior data and then arrange them like grotesque specimens for your examination. Cohesive subjects become a collection of deficient objects occupying a numb interstitial space, expressing their humanity through little more than autonomic twitches. We must make peace with the fact that we are temporary entities and cannot fix everything. Even if the human body were ‘perfected’ through DNA alteration, implanted devices, etc, it would entail an unsettling redefinition of what it means to be human. As we adapt to the technocultural environments we are creating, is it possible to find a trajectory for human progress that maintains respect for our basic humanity?

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