Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life by Sarah Kember

By Sarah Kember

Cyberfeminism and synthetic lifestyles examines the development, manipulation and re-definition of existence in modern technoscientific tradition. It takes a severe political view of the concept that of lifestyles as details, tracing this throughout the new biology and the discourse of genomics in addition to in the course of the altering self-discipline of synthetic lifestyles and its manifestation in artwork, language, literature, trade and leisure. From cloning to computing device video games, and incorporating an research of undefined, software program and 'wetware', Sarah Kember extends present realizing by way of demonstrating the ways that this particularly marginal box connects with, and connects up worldwide networks of data systems.Ultimately, this publication goals to re-focus challenge at the ethics instead of at the 'nature' of life-as-it-could-be.

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Secrets have a function which may be expressed in psychological, social and economic terms. They articulate a boundary: ‘an interior not visible to outsiders, the demarcation of a separate domain, a sphere of autonomous power’ (40). What is more, life has traditionally been seen as a secret kept by women from men. The concept of life which Keller employs is one of creation, or more properly reproduction: ‘By virtue of their ability to bear children, it is women who have been perceived as holding the secret of life’ (40).

It does not really matter what the language is – whatever the wrapping, the idea is conveyed intact’ (115). But, Hayles continues, ideas are surely not independent of language or ‘giftwrap’. Rather, ‘the idea is present only in and through the giftwrap’ (119). Dawkins’s anthropomorphic metaphor of the gene is performative, constructing rather than unwrapping ideas about agency and subjectivity. His story ‘is about displaced agency, about a subjectivity that has the illusion of control while the real locus of control lies with another agent who inhabits the subject and uses him for its own ends’ (120).

It is after the second phase, when the genome project as such has ended, that the ‘fun’ begins ‘for biological sense will have to be made, if possible, of the mind-numbing sequence of three billion A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s’ (1993: 62). Lewontin asks what exactly this is going to tell us about health, disease, happiness, misery and the meaning of life. One of the real difficulties in making sense, or deriving causal information from DNA messages is hermeneutical as ‘the same “words” have different meanings in different contexts and multiple functions in a given context, as in any complex language’ (66).

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