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FleshFactor: Sado macho ?

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Relationships. Those old hoary themes of power and control, subservience,
being understood, falling in love.  Not with a machine surely?  There is
something distinctly 'odd' about this flesh machine theme, this stellarc
sado-masochistic love (machine) hate (body) tendency.  I have seen this
vaguely obsessive desire almost embraced by certain western cultures, the
violent robotic monster machines of Jim Whiting are adored in Switzerland
and Austria - or am I being culturist. 

Language and culture.  A precise language, with no room for errors, the
machine code embedded within, establishes a relationship between the
outside world of chaos and unpredictablity and inside - controlling the
irrational, the emotive, a yearning for security, the known, order and
control.  The Japanese love those electronic pets (Tamagotchi), pain when
they die...another strange obsesssion in a strict and heavily social rule
based culture.  Jean Tinguely made machines that sawed themselves apart,
that giggled and mocked - another cultural reflection?  Rebecca Horn's
kinetic work encompassed alchemy, and a femininity, a strange dark
humour..  Kinetics and Humour, serious machine dreams, reflections of our
twisted relationships with nature and each other?

Is it any wonder that the self-help/hypnotherapy/new age/cult industry is
booming - or am I once again being that uninformed, pessimistic and
annoying old cynic again?  Embrace the machine! (Jim Whiting once made a
sex machine (for men only) and where was the first cybersex (mutual
masturbation via telephone) machine made? 

FleshFactor lapped up the "can machines think, are we machines" debate -
can this in itself be interpreted objectively?  It's the why's and
wherefore's that are not being addressed - looking at the expressions we
are making via the medium of machines may be more revealing - a mirror of
our times and an indication, a litmus of our possible futures, errors of
our ways, counselling for all. 


Richard Brown   <r.brown@rca.ac.uk>

[Richard concluded this message with an attached e-mail advertizing the
publication of a special issue of Convergence: The Journal of Research
into New Media Technologies...  The Summer 1997 issue, Volume 3, Number 2,
Andrew Murphie).  It does look very interesting and relevant to our
discussion here.  For further information on this or other issues of
Convergence, contact the editors, Julia Knight and Alexis Weedon, at:
<Convergence@luton.ac.uk>.  Information on back issues is available at: 
http://www.luton.ac.uk/Convergence  --thanks Richard, T.S.]

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