1. OK, Cupid: giving your love life to Google Glass and the hive mind
Tim Maly, Verge - 11 April
2. Meet the Man Who Sold His Fate to Investors at $1 a Share
Josh Davis, Wired - 28 March
cc Charles Green (2000), Doppelgangers and the Third Force: The Artistic Collaborations of Gilbert & George and Marina Abramović/Ulay, Art Journal 59.2: 36–45
“In both teams’ performances, the artists folded themselves into an elusive extra identity: the double body of the collaborative artist. […] Abramovic/Ulay’s bodies changed dramatically during their collaboration. According to many observers, they became remarkably similar in appearance […] In fact, they looked and behaved almost like twins: they were both tall, muscular, athletic, and long-haired and dressed in similar clothes. In Relation in Time and Breathing In - Breathing Out (both 1977), they effectively presented themselves as joined halves of a double being, like Siamese twins. In addition, they had met on their mutual birthday. Abramovic/Ulay were well aware that they were recreating themselbves as doubles - that they were moving beyond conventional gender-based markers of identity at the same time that they were attempting to develop faculties such as telepathy through sensitization processes. In public lectures after their collaboration had ended, they described the collaboration as symbiotic, emphasizing the absolute trust that had been necessary to produce their works.
Just as Abramovic/Ulay, through extreme self-absorption, spectralized their bodies, so their collaborative body became their real body, for their corporeal bodies had been stripped of normal significance, like shadows.
Most commonly when we discuss augmented reality and ‘augmented self’ we simply mean perceptions or a body enhanced by technology. We remain caught within the metaphor of cyborg, “hybrids of machine and organism”.
I find it interesting to consider taking that a step deeper and asking what happens when we augment with the thoughts, feelings and decision-making powers of other human beings - when we bring these deeply into interaction with our own selves, forming a conscious entity expanding beyond the singular body.
It sounds extremely radical, but in fact love, sex, having a child - some sense of a merging self is in fact quite familiar. Which makes it interesting why these conscious artistic interventions above seem so taboo. Perhaps because they make conscious, explicit and durational what’s otherwise a highly liminal moment.
It reminds me of someone I used to know a very long time ago on LiveJournal. As they put it, “Zie is multiple, part of a collective entity.” I was young, perhaps 14, and the only point of contact was their blog, different people writing about their lives together - “we”, “us”. I envisioned maybe a house of half a dozen people, different ages, genders, queer; living radically with a profound commitment to the group over the individual. I was unsure what was going on. I didn’t know about Multiple Personality Disorder then - but better not to; it helped me see the truth of their experiences, not just the category.
“Since each of us were several, there was already quite a crowd.” [D&G]