Many people associate transhumanism — the field of using science and technology to radically alter and improve the human being — with scientists, technologists and futurists. In this article, Zoltan Istvan discusses how transhumanist artists have recently been increasing in popularity and numbers. Whether it’s metal-welding sculptors, futurist-oriented video game developers or techno-musicians celebrating life extension, there is more of it being created every day, some of it in new forms of media.
Exploring particular issue themes, articles will be created by contributors via invitation, commission and open submission from subscribers.
Have you walked out of a pandemic movie lately with the hair raised on the back of your neck? Elaine Whittaker’s, I Caught it at The Movies, is a mixed media installation of digital images, painting and live bacteria that blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is manufactured, what is animate and what is inanimate.
Transhumanism has been around for nearly 30 years and was first heavily influenced by science fiction. Today, transhumanism is increasingly being influenced by actual science and technological innovation, much of it being created by people under the age of 40. It’s also become a very international movement, with many formal groups in dozens of countries.
The Soyuz capsule roared into the pre-dawn darkness just after 3 a.m. Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) from the Russian manned space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, en route for the International Space Station. Aboard the capsule are Russian Anton Shkaplerov, NASA’s Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. There was also a small telescope, that will be used in an extraordinary project, Wigner’s friends, that will create a universal show consisting of all possible works of art at once.
Blending physics, psychology, and philosophy, internationally renowned writer, Peter Russell, leads us to a new worldview in which consciousness is a fundamental quality of creation. He is fascinated by how light is a recurrent theme in meditation, religion, philosophy and modern physics, and asks ‘Does physical reality and the reality of the mind share common ground in light?’
Dmitry Gelfand and Evelina Domnitch create sensory immersion environments that merge physics, chemistry and computer science with uncanny philosophical practices. Current findings, particularly regarding wave phenomena, are employed by the artists to investigate questions of perception and perpetuity.
“It is virtually impossible to look at the workings of the sky without somehow being moved by it. There is no greater teacher of time and space than the sky, no greater courier to the sense of majesty, no greater dwarfer of one’s own significance, and no greater prompter to the question ‘why’. To watch and interpret the skies has always been one of man’s most basic instincts, providing a way of placing oneself in the context of the universe.” In this article, Richard Bright explores the ‘significance of the sky’ through astronomy, myths and metaphors of the eclipse, together with the work of James Turrell.
Sidney Perkowitz explores how our knowledge of light’s intangible nature has evolved into deeper understanding – deeper, but incomplete, for light still holds mysteries. Yet we know it well enough to predict its behavior and manipulate it with exquisite finesse for scientific research, technological application, and aesthetic use.
Throughout the ages people have felt that the material world is not all there is. Mystical visions, answers to prayer or an awareness of a power or comforting presence beyond the self have given intimations of a greater reality beyond the everyday. Might this awareness also suggest some kind of survival of death as End of Life Experiences, Near-Death Experiences and Post Death Communication seem to indicate?
Marianne Rankin looks at a range of spiritual experiences and considers the effects on people’s lives and what they might indicate about the nature of consciousness and Ultimate Reality.
Many experiences cited are taken from the archive of the Religious Experience Research Centre, now at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter, the collection initiated by Sir Alister Hardy in Oxford when he retired as Linacre Professor of Zoology in 1969. Much has happened since.
Michael Benson works at the intersection of art and science. A photographer, writer, filmmaker, book-maker, and exhibitions producer, in the last decade he has staged a series of increasingly large-scale shows of planetary landscape photography internationally. In his latest book, ‘Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space through Time’, he turns his attention to the history of the visual description and mapping of the universe. This is a story that begins inmyth and ends with science. Selecting the most artful and profound examples of cosmic imagery, Benson chronicles successive cosmological models that capture our growing awareness of humanity’s place in nature.