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Cyborg Fridays February 27, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in communication, cyborgs.
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Cyborg Fridays is a weekly event hosted in the Sanford Room of the library. I figure since The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse and Battlestar Gallactica all air on Friday, then it’s the perfect days for cyborgs. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll watch all those shows. But you never know.

The screening on 2/27 will have food, but future Fridays will have to rely on the kindness of like-minded cyborgs aficionados.

You are more than welcome to bring your own food and friends with you.

You’re not obligated to stay through the entire cyborgian endeavor.

Find the group Cyborg Fridays on Facebook.

Patchwork girl: reality or hallucination? February 26, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in humanity, monstrosity.
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 An interesting point that my group talked about in class was questioning whether Patchwork girl herself was this real human being or was she simply a creature that defies reality? I personally feel that she is both, if that makes any sense. She obviously is real in the sense that she is put together by pieces of human body parts, but the thought of her as a creation and/or connotation of being a goddess is interesting to think about. Shelley Jackson creates an intimate relationship with Patchwork Girl which leads us to believe that there is a maternal or sexual bond. However, it also is believable that Patchwork Girl could be this concept representing society perhaps with its different pieces of identity forming a whole, or even a representation of Mary Shelley in her non-linear yet sewn together imagination of her personality.  Therefore, I consider Patchwork Girl, character and medium, as an intricate and personal experience that does not have one sole meaning or signification.

Week Long Anime Events @ HWS: Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan with Roland Kelts February 24, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in anime, comics, culture, film, manga.
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Roland Kelts and Anime Masterpieces

Roland Kelts and Anime Masterpieces

Monday, March 2, Sanford Room, 6:30 p.m. Animé Film, Grave of the Fireflies

Taking place toward the end of World War II in Japan, Grave of the Fireflies is the poignant tale of two orphaned children, Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, who try to survive amidst widespread famine and the callous indifference of their countrymen. Some critics consider it one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made. Animation historian Ernest Rister compares the film to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and says, “it is the most profoundly human animated film I’ve ever seen.”

Panel discussion follows film with Professors Les Friedman, Lisa Yoshikawa and Leah Shafer, and students.


Tuesday, March 3, Sanford Room, 6:30 p.m. Animé Film, Tekkonkinkreet
Tekkonkinkreet centers on a pair of orphaned street kids – the tough, canny Kuro (Black) and the childish but mysteriously intuitive Shiro (White) – as they deal with Yakuza attempting to take over Takara Machi (Treasure Town). Tekkonkinkreet is a pun on “tekkin concrete,” the Japanese term for reinforced concrete; it suggests the opposition of the concrete city against the strength of imagination. This film won the 2008 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the Grand Prix award at the Anima 2008 festival, the prestigious Best Film Award at the 2006 Mainichi Film Awards, and was named the number one film of 2006 in the annual “Best of” roundup by the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Artforum magazine.

Panel discussion follows with screenwriter Anthony Weintraub, and Japanamerica author Roland Kelts.


Wednesday, March 4, Geneva Room, 7:30 p.m. Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan, Roland Kelts

Is there something more to the U.S.’s fascination with Japanese animé and manga? How are animé films and manga comics cultural channeling zones, opened by the horrors of war and disaster and animated by the desire to assemble a world of new looks, feelings and identities?

Professor at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo, Roland Kelts addresses the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations. With uncertainty now the norm, style, he argues, is trumping identity, explaining, in part, the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West. As Western mindsets encounter a rapid decline in longstanding binaries – good/evil, woman/man, black/white – Japan’s cultural narratives evolve in borderless, unstable worlds where characters transform, morality is multifaceted, and endings inconclusive. Animation allows an aesthetic freedom wherein these transformations and gender ambiguity may be given fuller play than in live action films. Nothing appears fixed. No surprise, perhaps, argues Kelts, coming from the only people to have suffered the immediate transformations of two atomic bombs and the instant denigration of their supreme polar father: the Japanese Emperor. Author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, Kelts is also a contributing writer and editor for A Public Space and Adbusters magazines, and a columnist for The Daily Yomiuri. His articles have appeared in The Village Voice, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and The Japan Times. He is the editor in chief of Animé Masterpieces, an anime lecture and screening series. Kelts divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Films, panels and lecture are co-sponsored by Comparative Literature, Media and Society, The Young Memorial Trust for International Peace and Understanding, and Animé Central, and presented in association with Anime Masterpieces, a project of Gorgeous Entertainment.

Join us for a roundtable discussion session with Roland Kelts on Thursday 8:45-10:10 in the Fisher Center, Demarest 212.

Link Dump February 21, 2009

Posted by slickpig in television.
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A video interview by Joss Whedon about Dollhouse @ TV Guide: Part One of a nine part interview with Joss on his latest work, giving lots of behind the scenes info.

Not Directly Cyborg related, but Whedon related: An article on Spiritual Atheism in Buffy, Angel, House, and Doctor Who.

Patching up the patchwork February 20, 2009

Posted by andiroo in cyborgs.
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I’ll be quite honest – trying to read Patchwork Girl on my own was… difficult.  Now I am not sure if it was my computer or if it was my inability to follow the .pdf guidelines, but surely something was working against me.  I would click here, and something would pop-up there – a jumbled mess, in my opinion, with no direction or any conceivable end results.  However, at the lecture I was enlightened by the truth of her work, and I was astonished at how well it was written – how well it made me connect, and how it made me feel the words she wrote, more than just listening to them.

Her whole approach to writing, reading, and everything in between baffled me at first, but I think that’s just because she hit the nail on the head.  I sensed right off the bat that she knew what she was talking about, instead of talking about something she knew – her dedication to literature, and to animation is ever-clear and her ideas were equally as amazing.  She really gave me an insight into the fabrication that writing truly is – a piece by piece construction of our own entity – be it a monster, or be it something else, and this I really enjoyed.

Too bad I still can’t figure out how to read it on my computer 😦

humans to robots, robots to humans February 20, 2009

Posted by mccuemonster in cyborgs.
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SO I thought this was an interesting idea. This is the only movie I have ever seen that reminded me of life in a robot. Can a robot learn so much that it becomes more. And today when we talked in class we talked about what is human and  what isn’t. Jonny says he is not human but has a soul. Can a non-human have a soul?

On Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness February 19, 2009

Posted by chris drake in cyborgs, technology.
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When reading Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” and Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl” I couldn’t help but think about where artificial intelligence fits in all of this.  A question that artificial intelligence poses is that if complete ‘AI’ were to be created would these machines be able to become self-aware and be able to retain consciousness? This is the philosophical debate of the possible existence of Artificial Consciousness. Attributing to the mind-body problem, if ‘AC’ were possible it would mean that human consciousness can be tracked back to physical properties and be emulated in machines, if ‘AC’ is not possible then it would mean that the consciousness of humans is separate from the physical properties of the brain. Cyborgs blend this line of distinction.

The aesthetic philosopher and artist Paul Ziff defines machines as incapable of having feelings or  consciousness in his essay “The Feelings of Robots”. He poses the question of whether we can attribute feelings to a machine and in so blurring the line between a man and a machine.  We base our perception of a person’s behavior not only on what evidence is present then and there but as well what has been seen elsewhere which would tie into what we see then and there. One cannot see what another knows. Suppose there is an actor performing the role of a grief-stricken man. One person knows he is acting and another does not. Then to that person who is unaware the man would seem to be truly grief-stricken. The other person knows that the man is only putting on a performance. Robots are performers and it would be incorrect to say that the robot is grief-stricken because it is only imitating the emotion. A robot would behave like a robot.

Paul Weiss, a nanoscientist and philospher,  expresses in his essay “Love in a Machine” what is needed to identify a consciousness in a machine. Weiss answers some basic questions in his writings stating these claims. Claim 1: “Behavior occurs in space and time”  this being the case it is true that the behavior of men can in principle be duplicated by machines. Claim 2: If machines could not behave in ways man could not then it would only show that man has more flexibility and wider range then a machine would, not that he has a private nature or mind that machines do not. Claim 3: If machines were to behave just as men do it would mean that machines could have minds that are recognize as minds of men. Claim 4: A person can only know others from the observable outside.

One cannot know whether or not another person has a mind. Therefore one cannot find a way of distinguishing men from the machines. Weiss is examining and explaining how people know themselves from the outside as well as from within. Since we can see how others behave then we can see that they have minds similar to our own. If there can be know observable distinguishing men from machines then it can be concluded that machines have minds as well. But to pose furthur questions and thinking, how do we explain the unseen relationship we have with our fellow humans? These unique bonds that connect humans beyond the physical realm, such as love.

Superuseless Superpowers February 19, 2009

Posted by yakshi in comics, comix, cyborgs.
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My friend forwarded me a link to a blog called Superuseless Superpowers <http://superuseless.blogspot.com/&gt;. By using comedy, the entries help to humanize the concept of superheroes. Whereas our culture idolizes superheroes and their superhuman abilities, this blog assigns unremarkable “superuseless superpowers” to regular people. For example, their superheroes can grow hair between their eyebrows extremely fast, or fly only while on a plane. Each entry is a different superpower, providing numerous, often disappointing, ideas for superheroes.

This blog raises the question of what qualities make a superhero so super and powerful. Is there a hierarchy amongst superheroes, even ones that have long been institutionalized in our pop culture? Superheroes surpass the notion of natural strength, therefore how can we compare the physical power of Iron Man’s impenetrable suit to the Hulk and his involuntary mutations? Either way, all superheroes have qualities that challenge social norms and natural human abilities. Is being superhuman ultimately better than being just human?

As we consider narratives behind superheroes, and how they involve the application of superpowers and qualities to regular people, we must address cyborgs. In what way are cyborgs, in some respects science’s attempt to improve the human body and mind, also better than humans? Could their physiological and psychological differences be considered superpowers, or rather superimprovements? How would cyborgs fit into the hierarchy of superheroes, if at all?

Embracing the Inner Cyborg February 19, 2009

Posted by boricuagirl1801 in cyborgs.
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Reading the Cyborg Manifesto made me realize how technologically manufactured we are. We do as we are told because we do not want to get in trouble no matter how much it can seemingly affect us. I noticed this during our time at the Arts Studio when we all had to carve out our objects on to the linoleum block. No one objected to doing it because they do not want to do bad in the course, but with that, many of the students were getting cut or hurt by the carving tools used. We can’t complain about it because we do not want to get in trouble so we keep it in, causing us to stay emotionless at the scene at hand. The cyborg manifesto states that we are all cyborgs in different ways, shapes or form, but it’s so odd how we can refer to ourselves as normal humans when we all are complex in our own ways. In Patchwork Girl, there is an image that shows a human with the brain displaying many different words and phrases, causing me to think that the brain is it’s own technological device that keeps us functioning. We are all natural born cyborgs even though some people choose not to believe that.

Cyborg Writing February 19, 2009

Posted by slickpig in cyborgs, writing.
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I think that the two readings we had for this week, Jackson’s Patchwork Girl and Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, speak in an interesting conversation. Haraway says in the Manifesto- “Writing is pre-eminently the technology of cyborgs, etched surfaces of the late twentieth century. Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism,” and if anything Patchwork Girl is not a text that allows for easy navigation or translation. There cannot be one perfect explanation or way to read Patchwork Girl, which is probably what Shelly Jackson is trying to achieve through her hypertext novel.