jump to navigation

On Shelley Jackson’s Lecture March 4, 2009

Posted by yakshi in cyborgs.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

I am intrigued by the idea of death and monsters in Shelley Jackson’s work and writing process. During her lecture, Jackson explained that a dictionary is a cemetery of words. The image is haunting, dead and extinct words that writers must exhume. After Jackson described her technique to break the habitual use of the same words and phrases to describe certain emotions, I have a visual of her returning to the word cemetery to unearth new words. Every writer does it in every piece of work, she explained, Patchwork Girl just makes the stitches between these words more obvious. For Jackson, fiction is friction. In Patchwork Girl she borrows not only words but entire excerpts from other works. She also re-imagines the lives of actual people, taking on Mary Shelley as Patchwork Girl’s creator.
Because Jackson came across as enamored with the writing process, I wonder if Patchwork Girl is intended to be Mary’s physical creation or just a hallucination. In the journal portion, it came across to me that Patchwork Girl is a character that Mary is working on, even falling in love with. The scene where they are lying in bed together, for instance, is written like a figment of Mary’s imagination. It is not clear whether she is challenging Patchwork Girl’s physical boundaries by lying next to her and touching her skin, or if she is attempting to better know her invented character in her head. Either way, Mary’s maternal responsibility and ownership over Patchwork Girl is evident. Mary is acquainting herself with the monstrous other as a writer.
With Jackson’s other project Skin, she embraces the direct correlation between language and the body. By imprinting one word on each participant, 2,095 in total, she is allowing human beings to literally embody her work. The photographs of each tattoo, most of them taken in the tattoo parlor while still bleeding, immortalize her work for as long as the participants live. The fact that Jackson recognizes and addresses the eventual death of her participants demonstrates the impermanence of both the body and language.

Shelly Jackson March 4, 2009

Posted by smike97k in cyborgs.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Seeing Shelly Jackson speak this last week really helped me to “sew” the pieces of her Patchwork Girl together. I haven’t seen many authors speak about one of their pieces that I have not studied some myself. I really enjoyed hearing her voice reading it because it almost gave more life to the characters. She also helped me to understand how to navigate the hyper text better so that I could get as much of the story as possible. I realized how little of the story that I had gone through, and even though it turns out I read very little of the story, unintentionally, I still feel like I got a lot of information of the story line, which shows how advanced and intricate this piece really is. Jackson said that the “text is shaped by choices” of the readers, and it is the reader, like Mary Shelly, who helps to bring Patchwork Girl to life, in different ways depending on who is reading it from what angle and perspective.

There were a couple of points that Jackson made that really stood out to me concerning the topics of time and the life of words. She said that “all looking is looking into the past.” Even though I was aware that when an image enters the eye it takes a split second to reach the brain, meaning that we comprehend that image in the past, technically speaking, I didn’t fully comprehend this scientific fact in terms of the concepts of past and present. If this transfer of image takes place with a time laps, no matter how small, is there such a thing as the present, or does only the past exist? I know this is being very technical but it is an interesting question to think about. Jackson also talked about the life of words. She said that with words “we recycle voices of the dead.” I thought that this was a fascinating idea. All words have been spoken. Therefore each time anyone speaks, they are speaking words that have had previous lives. Giving life to words is an interesting concept to me. Words, whether written, signed, or spoken, depend on our lives to live, therefore do we depend on their lives to live? Confusing and maybe a little too philosophical, but interesting.

I really liked her new project “My Skin.” I like how she combined the concepts of words and bodies to create a story. She made the point that “context alters the simplest words.” This was interesting to see as she showed us the slideshow of tattoos on participant’s skin. Not all were clear in context but some of the words were extremely influenced by the body part they were on. These words were given a different life that those spoken or on paper, as they were directly connected to the body. This was just another way she portrayed the life of words.

Cyborg 009 March 3, 2009

Posted by saraholsen in cyborgs.
Tags: ,
add a comment

So I am not going to deny it…With it being the middle of the semester and midterms drowning me, I got on here feeling a little brain dead and not sure what to talk about. So I decided to do a little technology searching through technology. And Ta-Da! I found something. First I Yahoo! searched technology, but all I got were some intense articles. Then I searched cyborg, and while I was typing, a suggested search was Cyborg 009. And then when I searched cyborg, it asked if I meant Cyborg 009. So out of intense curiosity, I clicked on it. And this is where I found my intrigue. Not only was it based on a cyborg, but it was also an anime cartoon. Which fit in perfectly with our topic of the week. However, it also fits in with Patchwork Girl in a way that we were discussing in class today. You see, (and sorry for those who already know this), but Cyborg 009 was first created and aired in 1964.

However, this show has been reanimated and republished with the most recent version going through till 2002

Anyways, I thought it was an intersting transformation of technology and concept, especially that pertaining to cyborgs. I was thinking about the ‘death of a text’ when viewing this, and though I realize that this is not a text, there is something about it that could be dead. However, because it has been reanimated through the years, it has survived so the new generations could enjoy it!

Patchwork girl: reality or hallucination? February 26, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in humanity, monstrosity.
Tags: ,
add a comment

 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.

Patching up the patchwork February 20, 2009

Posted by andiroo in cyborgs.
Tags: , , , ,

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 😦

On Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness February 19, 2009

Posted by chris drake in cyborgs, technology.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

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.

Embracing the Inner Cyborg February 19, 2009

Posted by boricuagirl1801 in cyborgs.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

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.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

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.

Patchy-work Girl February 18, 2009

Posted by dunemethane in narrative, structure, visual culture, writing.
Tags: ,

At first I was really intrigued by the idea of reading a story that if I clicked on any word would take me to another page like those old-school choose your own adventure books. I started to read and clicked on words and kept going until I realized that I just kept going in circles eventhough I clicked on different words everytime. WTF? I tried this for about a half hour when I eventualy just gave up and accepted that this hypertext business is not as cool as I thought it would be. But I guess it makes sense since it starts with talking about embryo’s and ends talking about the same exact thing (literally).