The final work is a reimagination of Goethe’s Faust in a world at the verge of cyborgization. The humans need to make the crucial decision if they want to become cyborgs or continue living in an imperfect, perishable human shell or hand-over their being piece by piece to technology with all its mighty powers. It is a reflection between gaining technical powers and giving up data and/or our essence. The decision is compared to Faust’s pact with Mephisto and the consequences thereof. The struggles with one’s own consciousness, the thirst for power and the potential abuse by those who lend us these powers.
In this final stage, I realized my ultimate struggle. The sense of helplessness towards a new technology that you participate only as a consumer. It is too advanced and too costly for the standard human to impact or create these technologies. It is the existing tech-giants and those in the making that will create the environments we will be living in and just as how we are all now consumers of google’s and facebooks and apps and our environments will not allow us to participate in a modern day society without participating in one of the these platforms, just like that I believe that we will have no choice but become part of the technological process of cyborgization, unless we decide to live in a mountain with goats and food we grow ourselves, but even then drones would be able to access us and count our goats one by one. This sense of helplessness reminded me very much of Goethe’s Faust and his struggle with the ‘higher’ powers and pact with the devil.
In this stage I got a bit scared of myself, realizing that I fully jumped into the process of becoming a cyborg and already rejecting the human flaws so inherent to us. I could not continue with the process I had started. I did not want to just accept the fact that one day we might all become cyborgs, but I wanted to give space to the fact that we need to be very conscious and thoughtful about how we approach the technological progress that happens faster than we can really comprehend. My vision turned towards a future cyborg, who had just decided to incorporate a brain-computer-interface. I wanted to map his experience. The emotions he went through before making this life changing decision. What struggles would he face, what advantages and would he still have human issues in an emotional sense?
One consideration for cyborgization is maintaining our status quo in terms of capabilities and in the medical sense. However, I considered this to be only an introducing stage of the process of becoming cyborgs, the step following will be less driven by a sense of medical necessity but will more be motivated by our sense of competition, our willingness to go further and further in the quest of dominance, power and social status. So I directed my thoughts towards how we could use new technologies to further improve our human capacity and maybe even those human attributes that we do not appreciate, e.g. habits. I created a piece of ‘jewelry’ that would allow us to hear the movements of our body, or hands in particular. What our hands do and how the different movements sound. A way to call our actions into our active consciousness by means of sound.
The beginning of the course to me marked an introduction to the matter of cyborgization. A topic that seemed so far in the future, suddenly became a near future reality. In this class I was meant to become part of the progress and development of a cyborg future. I must confess this threw me off for a little while, I was not prepared for it. Until, one day, out of nowhere a relative lost a hand to a circular saw. Suddenly, a cyborg hand seemed a much more appealing alternative to being a disabled person and a part of me realized that there is almost no way out for us humans than to become cyborgs in the long run. Simply because we are too attached to our human capabilities, to having a body and to life. I thought of the human who has lost a hand and needed a replacement and thought of the change that happens in this process, our capacity to accept and live with our mechanical parts. I thought of a glove or cover that could adorn our cyborg parts and that would at the same time soothe our grief for the loss of our human parts.