Cyborgs Are Us is inspired by studies of human-machine synthesis, especially the work of Chris Hables Gray in his book Cyborg Citizen and the co-edited collection The Cyborg Handbook. Twenty-five years later, the same publisher (Routledge) and editors is compiling a new collection, Modified: Living as a Cybernetic Organism. I was asked to create art for the cover and various sections and to this end I have crafted this cyborg torso, inspired in part by art from some of the contributors.
I chose Elif Ayitir’s artwork because of her aesthetics, I love the beautiful design and playful color of her digital Avatar Figure 4: alpha.tribe. I used the image because it is
feminine and embraces the value of child play and imagination resulting in a beautiful merger of cyborg, play, and design. Kevin Warwick, I chose because he looks like a regular, real person. The added layers of technology enhancement do not take away his obvious humanity. I glazed (painted) the image of Moon Ribas, cyborg artist, on the cyborg ceramic torso. The image of Moon Ribas looks very contemporary, she portrays a strong impression of agency. I see the beautiful monotone blue portrait as both simple and compelling.
I often depict sea creatures and seaweed on my artwork because of my love of the Pacific Ocean, as well as, fear for the health of our oceans. I chose animal cyborgs to represent an ocean narrative. The dolphin, Winter, (featured in the movie Dolphin Tale) is able to swim and live a normal life after it received a prosthetic tale. A loggerhead sea turtle’s jaws were half sheared off by a boat propeller. He was saved and returned to the wild thanks to a 3-d printed beak made of medical-grade titanium. It is profound to me that the intervention of technology has saved the lives of sea animals, allowing them to continue life in the wild.
I also chose two paintings from women Renaissance artists. Artemisia Gentileschi’s, Danae, c. 1612, captivated me with its beauty and narrative of Zeus penetrating Danae’s hidden, protected bedroom by disguising himself as a shower of gold. I correlated Zeus’ impregnation of Danae, in the form of golden coins, as an intriguing version on a cyborg pregnancy. Lavinia Fontana’s (1552-1614) painting, Minerva Dressing, is a beautiful full figured form that I appropriated for my narrative of a female cyborg with an augmented spine.