Re ZKM's "GlobalBodies"...

Johannes Birringer (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 00:19:21 -0500

Dear listmembers,

well, the zkm "global bodies" event took place,
the telepresences in the teleconference (microphone worked badly for the
phone lines, CuSeeMe was a disaster and waste of energy because of the
download delays and time zone differences and breakdowns and crashes, and
so mostly people in linked-sites in the 4 continents talked via radiochat
lines, largely banal and uninteresting chitchat, no direct interaction or
dialogue with the images or with soudfiles happened, really)
was weird and malfunctioned a bit, the imagestraeming on the zkm website
worked perfectly and was quite interesting, but the event as a whle leaves
me with
strange taste in the mouth.

In our local site, the "Liquid Lab" people seemed to have fun, it was a
disco atmosphere although a small disco, with noise instead of music,
coffee was okay, artists who had come left frustrated and alienated, and
globalbdoy is a fiction, as usual). I might write a more coherent critique

But ZKM's questions, well, I answered them, being in a mood.[see below]

with best wishes,

Johannes Birringer


1. Are our eyes our Targets?

The eyes are only the cameras of our judgement calls and purchasing dreams.
The actual
targets are the body, our fading memories, our unconscious, our fragile
health and assured mortality.

2. Do we become what we see?

The laundromat in my neighborhood is called "Image Processing." We wear
our cleaned
up images as best as we can, sometimes make some changes, and often fear
that which we
already know has happened.

3. How do you think technology will change our body?

The bodies have grown used to technology, we are linked more or less
adequately to the
bult in obsolescence of our machines. We require upgrades, and they got
what we ask for. Sometimes we get surprised, but our bodies take it in a

4. How many personalities do you think you have inside you?

As many as I can fantasize, and then there aa few I insist on and cling to.

5 Are sounds born, do they also only spend a lifetime in certain places
and then die?

Some die, some are reborn. They live in many places and travel a lot.

6. Are we already Cyborgs?

No doubt about it, although not in the sense in which Wired magazine or
Mondo 2000
promote it. I prefer to think of our culture in terms of Cronenberg's film
Crash. A deadly sexy conjuncture.

7. What is the difference between genetic memory and cultural memory?

Cultural memory will be harder to define, since its waning and eroding, and
needs to be
learnt again and again and practiced. DNA garuantees very little, its
politics are not

8. How do you think it would feel to be touched throughout the network?

I am touched all the time, through the net. I am not sure about the

9. What percentage of your being is connected intimately with technology?

I am not a statistician, nor do I measure intimacy.

10. Can the human Body be an interface?

Funny question. What are we doing here, with our hands on our images.

11 How do we determine whether an entity is conscious?

I look for its signs of life, motion, smell, color, and texture. If it
feels a certain way, I imagine it is conscious of me feeling it a certain
way. Then again, it may not think me.

12 Is intelligence the allowance to decide what it considers to be useful for

That's one way of being intelligent, perhaps, but I am not sure
intelligence thinks on its own. We certainly don't always do what is useful
for us, do we?

13. Do you fear Machine Intelligence limiting your free will?

It's wonderfully arcane and predictable, and the faster it can compute, the
better for it. It can't touch me free will, and when it does, I talk back.

14. How does the constant use of technology effect our thought processes?

I get used to the constant use.

19. Which is worse for you....alone in a room with Email
or a room filled with people but no Net connection?

Not a good question. In a roo full of people I am with, I won't need to
worry abt net
connections. If I don't want to be with them, I leave the room.

20. Do you believe in virtual sex

I like all kinds of virtualities. Sex is not one of them, although I have
my fantasies.

21. What is your definition of _Nature_.

I am not a biologist or natural philosopher, so I stick to my childhood
memories of what I learnt to experience as nature. I now live no longer in
my childhood.