The First Paragraph of a Cyborg Manifesto at Amateur Escapist

The First Paragraph of a Cyborg Manifesto

The First Paragraph of a Cyborg Manifesto is a self-directed web piece made of three elements: letterforms, colored shapes and code.

The letterforms, in Arial, are derived from the eponymous first paragraph of Donna Haraway’s 1991 essay. Her work posits the image of the cyborg as an identity model unencumbered by gendered language’s historical baggage. Taking the boundary between the physical and non-physical as imprecise, she’s able to port the cyborg metaphor to the realm of the spiritual soul. As the world becomes ever more a hybrid of real- and cyberspace, I’ve found approaches such as hers increasingly relevant to my own lived experience.

The colored shapes are derived from details of paintings by Robert Rauschenberg, the American abstract-expressionist. The appeal here was in reinterpreting Rauschenberg’s tactile, human gestures in the mathematically precise forms of vector graphics, and then contrasting them with Haraway’s ideas, which flow the other way. The code chooses a random selection of letterforms and colored shapes to display in a composition, emphasizing visual rhythm. This is refreshed every five seconds, extending that rhythm across time.

The piece was created for the first issue of Amateur Escapist, a web-zine curated by Davin Risk.

View the piece

Posted March 2015

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