“I’m not wearing technology, I am technology.” Join us online on 11 March for a presentation and live Q&A with cyborg artist and activist Neil Harbisson. Our guest is best known for being the first person in the world with an antenna implanted in his skull and for being legally recognized as a cyborg by the British government. The event is part of the ongoing web-project: Cyborg Futures: Who Doesn’t Want to Live Forever? which investigates the role of cyborgs, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in our modern world.
Born with the inability to see color, Neil Harbisson implanted an antenna on his head — he calls it an ‘eyeborg’ — that allows him to perceive more colors than the visual spectrum of the human eye, from infrareds to ultraviolet. He will speak, amongst other things, about the Cyborg Foundation he co-founded to help other people extend their senses by merging with technology – becoming cyborgs. The foundation also explicitly wants to put questions surrounding the ethics, freedom, control and ownership over such body extensions on the agenda of governments worldwide: “We think that cyborg rights is something that governments should start talking about,” he states in his presentation for IMPAKT’s web-project Cyborg Futures.
With our rapid advances in technology, people like Neil Harbisson are embracing technology as a means of expressing themselves and experiencing the world in a totally different way. We are creating robots that are increasingly true-to-life, and we are attempting to move beyond the limits of our impermanent bodies with the help of technological upgrades. But what if man and machine become so similar that we can no longer tell them apart?
This is one the questions we try to answer with our interactive web-project Cyborg Futures. In addition to Neil Harbisson’s presentation, the project includes interviews, mini-lectures and artworks by Stelarc, Anna Gimbrére, Joanna Bryson, Alain Bieber, Klasien van de Zandschulp & Ali Eslami, Lancel/Maat, Simon Dogger, Monobanda, Wouter van Noort, Dan Hassler-Forest, Anneke Smelik and many other artists and speakers.
Cyborg Futures is a continuation of a Dutch-German partnership between the NRW Forum and IMPAKT, in collaboration with the Heartwire collective. The project is partly funded by the Dutch consulate in Düsseldorf and Creative Industries Fund NL.
This evening with Neil Harbisson is the first IMPAKT TV event: our new bi-weekly online broadcasting programme of conversations and reflections on current social events and/or (artistic) debates, linking these to past or present IMPAKT programmes.