Seminar: Posthuman – Technics & Life

Posthuman – Technics & Life

Theory seminar in the summer semester 2012 together with Marie-Luise Angerer. With Norbert Wiener’s Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948), technology begins to play with life. Since those early days of cybernetics, technology has made great strides. Attempts are no longer made merely to study the processes common to life and technology, but to modify the processes of life technically and, conversely, to control technical processes biologically. The seminar gives an overview of the developments since the Vienna years and presents relevant research, as well as current projects and literature for discussion.

Seminar text
With Norbert Wiener’s Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948), technology begins to play with life. With the introduction of the cyborg concept, first in space technology, in the early 1950s, life also begins to step beyond the boundaries of the human. Both moments mark the beginning of a transformation of the human that has been ongoing ever since (Hagner/Hörl 2008). In the early 1980s, Donna Haraway’s Manifesto for Cyborgs (1990) appeared, in which she argued that we are all cyborgs and that politics and science should finally understand this. Today, technology has such an obvious grip on everyday life and communication, that neither politics nor science would function without it. However, technology has made great leaps since the days of Wiener (keyword neocybernetics) and today faces corresponding new challenges (through life). This time, however, the aim is not to explore the common processes of life and technology with the help of the science of cybernetics, but rather to transform technics into biology. The seminar undertakes an overview of the developments since Wiener until today and presents relevant researchers and theorists as well as current literature for discussion.