n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Om kop te hou : liggaamlikheid en kontemporêre kuberkultuur - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 52, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Die metafoor of uitdrukking "om kop te hou" word aangewend as 'n sleutel ten einde 'n kritiese analise van die ontmoeting tussen nuwe tegnologieë en liggaamlikheid aan die hand te doen. Daar sal aangedui word hoe verwikkeld en uiters problematies die gedagte van "kophou" geword het in die kontemporêre kuberkultuur. Die doel is dus om die ontmoeting of interaksie tussen liggame en tegnologieë uiteen te sit met die belangrike voorbehoud dat dit nie tegnologie is wat liggaam ontmoet nie, maar eerder tegnologieë wat liggame in 'n verwikkelde interaksie ontmoet. Hierdie interaksie word in vier liggaamstipes verdeel, wat op 'n semiotiese vierkant aangedui word om gestalte te gee aan die ingewikkelde aard daarvan. Die vier liggaamstipes is geïdentifiseer as tegno-transendente liggaamlikheid; tegno-verbeterde liggaamlikheid; gemuteerde liggaamlikheid en hiper-werklike liggaamlikheid. Aan die hand van die vier liggaamstipes word die verweefde en ingewikkelde interaksies tussen liggame en tegnologieë uitgebou en die metafoor van "kophou" deurgaans aangewend ten einde die fyner nuanses van die interaksie te beklemtoon. Die liggaamstipes se interaksies met nuwe tegnologieë word ontsluit deur verwysings na voorbeelde uit die breër visuele kultuur soos film, visuele kuns, advertensies en die internet te gebruik.

The expression "getting (a)head" will be utilised in this article as an analytical key in order to present a critical reading of the meeting of and interaction between bodies and new technologies. The main aim is to demonstrate the complexity of this interaction and also to make evident how problematic the concept of keeping one's head while getting ahead has become in relation to new technologies and cyber culture in particular. The obvious fact that one will probably need to keep one's physical head in order to be able to speak of the literal one is expounded by means of new technologies such as cryonics, but also by referring to older metaphysical discourses that embed the body-unfriendly proponents in contemporary cyber culture. Descartes' description of the head as an entity that exists apart from the rest of the body is briefly discussed, as well as the opposite extreme example namely Bataille's Acéphale-group during the early twentieth century that instead affirmed the headless man as a future prospect. It is argued that both examples, namely the concentration of all thinking in the head and the abandonment of thinking altogether, signify a one-sided and body-unfriendly discourse. These older examples are perpetuated in contemporary denouncement of the body, and thus favouring of the head, as exemplified by theorists and artists such as Timothy Leary and Stelarc, and William Gibson's novels. In contrast to these views, Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological embracing of the world as flesh and the unbreakable and unthinkable bond between head (mind) and body is introduced as a starting place for rethinking embodiment in contemporary cyber culture.

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