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[ L ] Situating Cyborgs: Technology & Psychogeography

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Situating Cyborgs: Technology & Psychogeography

By LIZ WILKINSON

In this paper I will be exploring ideas of the post-human in relation to city-spaces — material, virtual and imagined. I will also refer to Situationist discourses on the city, which are particularly pertinent here as Asger Jorn once described situationist work on the city as "the science fiction of urbanism" (Sadler 1998:148), and the SI stated in 1960: "the situationist considers his environment and himself as plastic " (Sadler 1998:151).

The current vogue for cyberspace also has antecedents in Constant's work, and the appropriation of cybernetic theory by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s. I shall also be discussing the figure of the cyborg as theorised by Haraway, investigating the implications of viewing it as an embodiment of oppositional consciousness. Key to Haraway's project is her notion of „situated knowledge“ an argument for „situated and embodied knowledges against various forms of unlocatable and so irresponsible knowledge claims“ (Haraway 1991:191).

[...]

The city is an environment in which the body is situated and inscribed socially, sexually, discursively, and crucially here, technologically. Technology is clearly implicated in the production of material transformations of corporeality: the posthuman figure of the cyborg is the point at which the body takes on the characteristics of machinery, either literally or figuratively. The contemporary city is transversed by technology - telematics, telecommunications, reconfigured informational maps and links, where time, not space is of the essence, folded and subject to an imaginary geography.

The 'Transphysical city' which Marcos Novak describes is not postphysical, but promises new ways of being in cities which are complex, confused, chaotic and discontinuous. It is emphatically non-linear and non-local, its preferred modes of narration would inherently involve distributedness, multiplicity, emergence and open-endedness (Novak 1997:266).

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