“What does immortality mean in terms of a non-human centered world?” Our current world is a diverse mix of many worlds and many dimensions, we are ourselves a combination of the biological and the informational, we live in connection with processes that are outside and beyond ourselves. According to curator Willy Lemaitre, the very idea of “being interdependent with the world is a life-affirming alternative to the lamenting personal mortality”. By setting the tone of the exhibition (and, I should say, the whole festival) this idea asks us to step out of our own confortable thinking by pre-constructed categories and approach the 4 works presented with different eyes.
David Khang, Scott Kindall and Nathaniel Stern, John Paul Robinson and Alan Sondheim presented works that could have double interpretations: they explore with a critical eye some of the practices we rely on to achieve, if only temporarily, immortality: botox injections, communicating our existence to aliens or transmitting our cultural legacy to future generations, dissolving our body in cyberspace. Yet, all these practices reveal also how in trying to achieve some form of immortality it’s quite unavoidable to step out of the body and seek the assistance of the external world, be it prosthetic, symbiotic, spatio-temporal or metaphoric.
In the exhibition, our selves are thus extended and at the same time limited by Botox, our messages are delivered into space without guarantee that they will reach anybody, they are buried in a time capsule with the awareness that these messages are a fraction of the diversity of the human, while our body is manipulated in cyberspace, yet it is not idealized, as a mere extension of ourselves.