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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathPostsexual Bodies
CyberSM (Stenslie, Stahl), 1993Dandy Dust (Scheirl, Hans), 1998

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couple. The media artists Stahl Stenslie and Kirk Woolford produced the variant «human hooked up to (love) machine»: In »CyberSM« (1993/94), two people—one in Paris and one in Cologne—have sex with each other. Squeezed into bodysuits and hooked up to computers, their movements, emotional stirrings, skin and heart frequencies are calculated and transmitted, resulting in a ‹real simulation› of arousal and orgasm. These different combinations of human and machine are referred to as «cyborgs.» In this connection, the male/female figure of the cyborg stands for omnipotent feasibility, both material and mental. Not only are parts of the body exchangeable and replaceable, the psychical dimension also undergoes a remodeling. The concept of the cyborg was originally developed within the context of space travel in order to denote a being in new environments—weightlessness in space—a being whose body no longer functions self-sufficiently, but rather in combination with technology: «The concept of the cyborg was to allow man to optimize his internal regulation to suit the environment he may seek.» [6]

Haraway's cyborg, however, now appears in a completely different intellectual environment. As a


hybrid bring that is a match for the new postmodern standards for survival: as a superficial being, conceived without emotional depth, it denies itself the old psychoanalytical story of mama and papa. Its identity bears neither the nicks of family tragedies nor the scars of suppressed yearnings. Its essential posits of identity are neither traditions nor standards, neither gender identities nor class-specific boundaries, nor are they different skin colors. Rather these are markings on a path of open options. In this context, Haraway speaks of a «postgender world.» However, ‹postgender› does not mean that gender as a category has become superfluous, but that this can be charged with new meanings. This means that gender identities no longer constitute fundamental bases, but instead political, sexual markings that can be charged with meaning according to the prevailing context.

«Dandy Dust» (1998) by Hans Scheirl is an impressive cinematic example of this. This film is not concerned either with cyberspace or the male/female figure of the cyborg. Nevertheless, it deals exclusively with ‹other existences in other spaces,› monstrous cross-creations, mechanically extended bodies, with

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