Where does the cyborg end?

by hannesfrykholmuma

Donna Haraway uses the term blasphemy as something that “protects one from the Moral Majority from within, while still insisting on the need for community.”[1] There is in the notion of blasphemy a built in tension. Blasphemy is an “ironic faith”[2], an act of seriousness and dedication that is still at the heart of the project it is desecrating. I think the cyborg should be read in this way, as deeply blasphemous – an impossible hybrid between previously separated worlds that also challenges our notions about given divisions. It is clear that the cyborg also implies non-human forms of life and systems.

I wonder where the boundary can be drawn between the techno-chemical systems and the animated flesh? Haraway asks, “Why should our bodies end at the skin”? How does the integration between architecture and cyborgs happen? Is the technology of the built environment also part of a cyborg system? Perhaps the aircrafts are temporary wings for our bodies, the escalators automated steps for our legs and the interior air-conditioners a cooling system that replaces our bodily perspiration? If we think of ourselves as constantly renegotiated amalgamations between on the one hand animated flesh with specific behavior, and on the other hand infrastructural “stacks”[3] of rhythms, flows and physical mechanisms, where does this put the practice of architecture?

Hannes Frykholm

[1] Donna Jeanne Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980’s,” in Feminism – Postmodernism, ed. L.J. Nicholson (New York: Routledge, 1990), 190.

[2] Ibid., 191.

[3] H. Benjamin Bratton, “The Stack,” Log 35 (2015).