The techno body

arvida bystrom coexist 2022 foto arvida bystrom 

Arvida Byström, Coexist, 2022. Photo: Arvida Byström

07.10.23 - 21.04.24

The Techno Body is a group exhibition featuring works by eight contemporary artists, who examine how new technology affects our bodies and relations, sensuousness, and perception of reality.

Today, everyone has a techno body – a body inextricably tied up with technology. Just think how the ever-present mobile phone encroaches on our lives and changes the way we socialise and communicate with others. How it has taken on the role of memory. Without it, we cannot remember the phone numbers of our nearest and dearest, our holidays and appointments, or what we did yesterday. Digital archives depend on us constantly updating formats and programs, and we are therefore dependent on constant updating to remain who we are. Or, in other words: ‘To be is to be updated’. We have become one with the machine.

Technology is interpreted broadly in the exhibition and covers both what could be termed hi-tech and low-tech. The works in the exhibition, therefore, address digital, biological, and mechanical technologies. One work takes its point of departure in the body’s reaction to the first diving suits, thus offering a historical perspective on man’s encounter with new technologies. Some works create speculative sci-fi universes, where, for example, cryonics questions man’s mortality, whilst others examine how artificial intelligence (AI) challenges our perception of identity and the relations between man and machine.

When discussing body and technology, man and machine in relation to contemporary art, posthumanism cannot be ignored. A philosophical direction where man is no longer singularly and independently at the centre of our understanding of the world but placed on an equal footing

with nature and animals. All the artists in the exhibition work with the disappearance of boundaries characteristic of post-human man’s connection with machines, animals, and nature.

As one central post-human thinker, Donna Haraway, wrote in her influential essay A Cyborg Manifesto (1985), our machines are disconcertingly lively, while we are terrifyingly torpid. Just think of the extremely powerful versions of AI culminating in ChatGPT, subject to vehement debate at present. No wonder that we are attracted to machines to the extent that they become part of us. However, as the works in the exhibition indicate, this attraction presents countless ethical issues. Via art, we can try to understand technology better, what we want from it, and what it does to us.

Artists

Emilie Alstrup (b. 1988) Arvida Byström (b. 1991) Stine Deja (b. 1986) Asta Lynge (b. 1988) Marie Munk (b. 1988) Lea Porsager (b. 1981) Amalie Smith (b. 1985) Hannah Toticki (b. 1984)

The exhibition is supported by: 

Augustinus Fonden

Ege Fonden

Statens Kunstfond