Donna Harraway – A Cyborg Manifesto

Artist Influences, Studio, Uncategorized

I have been greatly inspired by Donna Harraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ and the way in which it debates ideas of feminism in terms of a totalising force, in terms of technology and in terms of language. I was initially inspired into looking into the idea of connecting my work with technology after reading Orlan’s ‘Carnal Art Manifesto’. I was interested in the idea of a combination between classicism and a sense of futurism, as her writing depicted a celebration of technology being able to change female representation.

I am very interested in how Harraway uses the myth of the cyborg to present ideas about nurturing connections within wider society, regardless of gender or politics. The beauty of the myth of the cyborg, is that it is a connecting force, which renders the problems of a need for difference and individuality in nature irrelevant. There need be no controlling dominant species, or gender or race, as a cyborg is a connecting force with which the individual plays a part within the larger whole. “We risk lapsing into boundless difference and giving up on the confusing task of making partial, real connection”, Harraway writes, as the fractions in society seem to dissipate a sense of wider community of striving for better as a humankind and part of one race. I am interested in the ideas of connection, and how alienation from others on a wider scale could cause a sense of dissatisfaction and individual loneliness, resulting in a hysterical act.

In addition, I am inspired by Harraway’s ideas on language, a subject I have been considering since researching the work of Luce Irigaray. Harraway writes, “We do not need a totality in order to work well. The feminist dream of a common language, like all dreams for a perfectly true language, of perfectly faithful naming of experience, is a totalizing and imperialist one.” Instead of wanting a common language for women, she argues that without the boundaries of gender in the world of the cyborg, we would all become connected and equal within the realms of the integrated circuit. I am interested in the idea of language in this way as a connecting force, instead of striving for a means of communication which will never truly fit the feminine experience. As such I want to consider the use of some cyborg-related elements within the narrative of my film. I would consider using a more robotic voice, and testing this against the more storytelling driven theme of using the human voice to see how this alters the effect of the story.

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