07 October 2005

Hacker fashion

Came across the designs of Duck Young Kong and the one series he's done that really drew my attention was his body mod jewellery designed for phreaks and the hacker community. Included are facial tattoos only visibile under certain light frequencies, jewellery for piercings which incorporate devices for data storage, computer interface, and others.

One, this illustrates (to me, at least) that we're heading towards the transhumanistic age that I am looking forward to. Yet, so many people fear the inevitable changes coming. Perhaps it's just Alberta, where I live. This isn't the most culturally significant region of North America.

Two, these designs are geared currently for a particular group. I shudder to think that one day I might see some fucking hussie in some club wearing such just to perpetuate trendiness. They've diluted the whole punk genre enough, the concept is deserving of its own funeral at this point.

Three… crap, I forgot what three was.

EDIT — As an add-on to this post, I came across this dermal nanotech display via Information Aesthetics:
a 'programmable dermal display' in which a population of about 3 billion 'display pixel robots' are permanently implanted a fraction of a millimeter under the surface of the skin, covering a rectangle 6cm x 5cm on the back of the hand. photons emitted by these pixel bots produce an image on the surface of the skin. this pixel bot array could be programmed to form any real-time information-driven display. amazingly, 'data visualization' suddenly turns into a whole new meaning if the entire human body can be considered as a living information display made up of data-driven tattoos. [nanogirl.com|via medgadget.com]


channel null said...

You know, I used to be one of those people opposed to "transhumanism". It seemed to me like a gateway to opression, not freedom. Now I'm of the reverse opinion, considering how it's got everyone from liberal humanists to fundie xians all worked up. And besides, it sounds awesome.

At the same time, I see two problems. The first is material: Peak Oil/The Huge Upcoming Global Clusterfuck. "Itz coming." Will we have enough oil to get us to the nanotech biomod jump-off? What happens if things start to fall apart? Scientific and technological advancement could fall to nothing, or retreat the the domain of the super-super-super wealthy... Richard Branson's space tourism, and Alcor's cyrogenics, are feasible for the middle-class smuck who can save his money--but Peak Oil threatens that. And I know all the "weenie-yanking white boy" anti-Civilization Anarchist types really enjoy the idea of living in a substinence-farming hard-scramble future and dying at forty-eight, but with the choice of getting to live forever in a cool future with telepathy implants and E-life, I'll choose nanotech, thanks, please shampoo your dreadlocks.

The second problem is theoretical. I've had fleeting experiences with "the double", the simulacram, OOBE, "energy",etc. all things that seem seated in a meat-puppet body. What happens if I use technology in a manner that apes these naturally-possible praeternatural phenomenon? Can that even be possible? Or am I just considering tech to be literally soulless?

Fell said...

Personally, I have faith that science will answer the problems that have arisen with the whole oil crisis. Those are some awfully smart people, I tell ya.

As for the out-of-body stuff and all the other mystical experiences, if you take the well-known "As above, So below" and think about the actual experiences themselves, I believe that if we build tools to aid us in triggering our bodies to jolt our consciousnesses into altered states, then that's a good thing. Like everything else: more people live like kings today than ever before in history, it's actually psychopathic in that regard. And I don't mean "kings" as in matriarchs, but as in the philosopher king — more are doing extremely well with what they have and the opportunities afforded them. Centuries ago, there was less opportunity to explore, but opportunities are now seeping into the worst conditions, such as China and other realms. Sure, there are still crimes and oppression, but really, technology is making the world (and, in turn, themselves) more open than ever before.

And by presenting everyone with their own power, it places the responsibility of life back unto the individual. You wanna be a shit and beat your wife or waste away and whatever, that is your right. Do you want to choose to explore the fantastic realms of magic, secret societies, and personally engage your community as though it were a drama always-unfolding? Good fuckin' on ya!

Now, there are no excuses. You either are, or you aren't. And it's no one else's fault but your own.

As an interesting note, the University of Alberta here where I live is building North America's largest nanotech research facility. It's pretty neat.

channel null said...

The thing about peak oil is that we already have the technology to circumvent the clusterfuck, it's just that the corporate morons and gov't fucks don't see any "Market" gain in it. E.g., I think that an electrical contractor could make a killing by installing alternative power, especially considering how low his costs are.

Good call on the manipulation of biology to access "higher" states. I was caught up thinking more along the lines of virtual reality headsets trumping magnetoelectric god boxes. Rather than put our faith in tech and tech alone and blindly, we want to integrate the meatpuppet and the science of experience and use-design-- into machine bodymods and viceversa, not just make machines that do stupid tricks. I like nanotech tattooing, and while I think the hand skin-screen is cool, it'd be best to just get that channeled straight into the brain, e.g.

Fell said...

I understand the anger towards the oil execs, trust me, but I know that I see a lot of change coming from ground level, from us, the people, so fuck 'em. We give them the power, and we're slowly taking it away. It doesn't happen overnight.

In the next two decades things will be very different. Even here in Edmonton, where city planners have royally screwed up local transit and are victims of suburban sprawl, just like everywhere else in North America, they're pushing for a twenty- or thirty-year plan right now to improve the train system all over the city. To me, that is admirable. I see initiatives all over like this, and I know Portland, Oregon recently hosted a neat environmental convererence for city planning. I think Chicago is well-known for that, too, as Toronto and other cities in that area are starting to work together in the planning stages.

All this initiative and not a one had to get shot by a Greenpeace sniper. See, this is progress!

JK said...

I'm with Channel Null and then I'm not. I really do like what I vaguely understand to be the topic of transhumanism. I like the idea of cybertech animism as much as it simultaneously scares the living fuck out of me. It's hard for me to not envision that when voluntary cyborg technology becomes commonplace, it will become that much easier for the authorities to fit anyone with a "civilian upgrade". So I say, shit, we're gonna hafta stay aware of that. (good luck to us all)

Yet at the same time, those who remain sufficiently human are still going to find themselves yearning for the subsistence-living future as they have come to idealize it, for how ever delusional. At least some may give it a good go, y'know?

It seems the crash of "enlightenment era" western ethics, is going to prove more interesting than anyone could have possibly imagined. Which is exactly as great eras of change and potential transcendence should be. As a humanist, liberal at that, by trade, I must say, I hope we are able to overcome. I hope beyond all hopes that we will be able to retain what makes us human -- and that to me, means nothing more than causing or doing no harm. Then again, perhaps that's not so "human" afterall. Wheels within wheels. . .

Anonymous said...

I can't believe we're entertaining the idea of being technologically progressive but still relying on fossil fuels or coal. If you're going to talk about advancements but then cling to oil don't even speak- your head is stuck in the past.