Aesthetics of Infection: From Cyborg to Theriomorph
As long as cultural history has been passed on, art and science have always been connected. However in the past decades, while it has become more and more evident that traditional anthropocentric and humanistic values have led to a huge and unprecedented environmental crisis, the dialogue between scientific research and artistic production has been increasingly focusing on a new vision of humanity as an open, undetermined and transitory entity. This essay examines how recent technoscientific advancements and relating artistic imagery have boosted the evolution of a posthumanistic idea of identity, moving away from the concept of human cultural self-sufficiency and gaining consciousness of our dependance on interaction and blending with alterity. A series of selected examples evidence the wide range of mutation spreading in contemporary audiovisual culture, oscillating between the two archetypical concepts of the Cyborg and the Theriomorph. The viral diffusion of hybrid contents, as the emerging idea of organisms and technology invading each other, suggests that we are approaching a paradigm of infection, not in the sense of a dangerous invasion of human health, integrity and purity, but in terms of a deeply necessary hybridisation with otherness.
Keywords: Viral • Infection • Alterity • Anthropocene • Hybridisation • Posthumanism • Theriomorphism • Technology • Cyborg • Mutation • Science • Contemporary Art • Art