Andreas Broeckmann on Thu, 14 Aug 1997 17:51:51 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> TechnoMorphica / the machinic phylum

[In October 1997, V2_Organisation Rotterdam will be publishing a book under
the title 'TechnoMorphica', a selection of essays by some of the usual
suspects, and some unusual ones. Await further notice on this. - Here is an
excerpt from one of our e-mail discussions about the title and general
concept. I am not the author. abroeck]

TechnoMorphica / the machinic phylum

If the fusion of biology and technology has indeed taken place, it means
that the same kind of processes are taking place within the body and within
the machine. Stelarc's performances deal exactly with this observation. The
'machinic phylum' is that which grows into and ramifies through human
behaviour. There is no longer a distinction between 'human' and 'machinic'

Whoever uses a tool, ramifies into the tool, whereby the tool also ramifies
into the user. Even if I use a hammer I have to 'become hammer', as Deleuze
would put it, in order to get the nail into the wood. If I stick to the
instrumental distinction I will always miss the nail and hit my thumb.
Stronger still: imagine that I have no hammer, no computer, no car. In that
case I am still thinking within the machine. The brainframe is also a
bodyframe. Besides, the machine does nothing but think of me, even though
we can hardly imagine what it wants from me - that's the 'instability' of
the media. And we certainly desire the unstable.

There is thus no 'usage' - there is no machinic beside the organic, or vice
versa, the machinic is the blending of the mechanic with the organic in
another, definitively hybrid category which one cannot distinguish
according to aesthetic or ethical parameters, as it is 'monstrous' by
definition. In the machinc, the human body ramifies into the machine
(that's the haptic), and the machinic mind ramifies into the body. Each
machine can therefore transform into a projectile, into a trajectory,
because the body receives the mind from the machine. Each behaviour can get
out of hand - the continous accident (Crash) of the fusion.

The title TechnoMorphica itself represents such a blend. It does not mean
'Technology + Morphosis', and it is the reverse of the instrumentalist
notion of 'biotechno(logy)'. The title subverts the separation of object
and process, form and field, wave and element. It pinpoints that every form
is a process, and every process form. The machinic is the diagram, an
enormous potential, which is actualised continuously in each body, and
through the book. What would be the body of a cloud, and what is the skin
of water?

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