Sunday, January 03, 2016

POSTHUMAN MODES OF BEING?

Posthuman Modes Of Being? Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016 


Many Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2015


NEWS

ADELAIDE
THURSDAY FEB 4 at 6 PM

at the University of South Australia
in conjunction with the International Space University, Strasburg. 

'Space and Popular Culture'

Panel discussion 
With me, under-water performance artist and Everest mountaineer Sarah-Jane Pell and comedian and Mars One candidate Josh Richards with facilitator, space archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman.
All the details and registration HERE



POSTHUMANIST INSPIRATION
Regular readers will note that I am on a roll with my posthumanist inspiration! 

My more recent inspirations are stimulated by my M. Phil research degree at the University of Queensland. My paintings are not part of the degree, but I am building a body of work reflecting upon my research. Early days.......................................

Existential risk posed by emerging technologies research, which I've previously mentioned many times is scientifically based, future focused and necessarily largely speculative. Given that existential risk means the potential for human species extinction, posthuman scenarios are part of the extended 'conversation'. Here are few reasons why. 

1. We may need to become posthuman in order to 'survive' cataclysmic events which are either human-made or other. 
2. Some people desire a posthuman existence to enable a possibly endless 'life', thus these people will aim to development pathways. 
3. We may morph into posthuman modes of being without really noticing eg: merging with artificial intelligence. The question being whether artificial intelligence or humans have actually orchestrated such an outcome. 
4. Other reasons that you may think of!

So, posthuman futures could occur out of necessity, desire or insidiousness...even accident?

MODES AND THEORIES
Philosopher and founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, Nick Bostrom, writes copiously about various fascinating topics including existential risk, artificial intelligence and superintelligence, transhumanism and posthumanism...and more! In the 2003 Transhumanist FAQ: A General Introduction Bostrom provides three possible posthuman "modes of being":

1. "completely synthetic artificial intelligences"
2."enhanced uploads"
3. "the result of making many smaller but cumulatively porfound augmentations to a biological human"

But, Bostrom also has another tantalising theory, which I have referred to previously. His theory is that we already live in a posthuman future. Yes, all of existence is a simulation run by posthumans. You can read more about this HERE

Bostrom's number 2 posthuman " mode of being" is completely fascinating to me! That's not to say the others are not fascinating, but uploaded enhancements leads to uploaded minds, playing with reality and simulation, possibly outlasting Earth's demise as the Sun reaches its magnificent end...but, it could also explain how we may already 'exist' in a posthuman future! 

NEW PAINTINGS
Posthuman Modes Of Being? is similar to another recent painting A Posthuman Habitat. In both paintings a mesh of binary code seems to hover above a background that suggests a landscape, a past. The mesh is like an alternative 'habitat'. In both paintings I have painted binary code 'instructing' words I AM, I am, I am? and lots of question marks.Uploaded minds trying to work out who they are maybe? In both paintings the tree, my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, acts as a beacon, which I argue, is a 'code' in itself. 

TREE - CODE - MY PREFERRED POSTHUMAN FUTURE
How is my tree a code? Well, let's imagine another kind of posthuman future. This is my preferred one. The sun dies, Earth is destroyed in the sun's death throes, Earth is scattered as dust and debris across space. BUT, we humans, possibly long extinct due to Earth's final eons with an inhospitable climate, lie as remains within Earth's dust. SO, we are scattered across space too! We return to the stars as star dust. ALL OF US! And, who knows as universal machinations occur another life-form similar to or possibly the same as humans, could somehow evolve from our 'dust'. Thus, my tree is the code-clue to the power of life and star dust...

I called the second painting Many because this painting could be many things! One is that all those coloured dots could be human star dust scattered across space after Earth is destroyed. Or, each dot could be another universe...idea...option... 

I like the way the two paintings play off each other...in many ways.

Cheers,
Kathryn
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com 


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