The cyborg alchemist

by helenawesterlind

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I placed my human-computer/artist/alchemist/writer/shamans/scientist in the center and on the horizon line of a new canvas. I put the DIPswitches of the computer board on her chest as if it were a part of her dress. A giant keyboard sits in front of her and her hands are poised to play with the cosmos, matter, words, games, images, and unlimited interactions and activities. She can do anything. The computer screen in the night sky offers examples. There are three images that graphically display different aspects of the same galaxy, using new high-technological imaging devices. Another panel exhibits a diagram of a gravity well. The central panel offers mathematical formulas, one from Einstein and the other a calculation found in chaos theory. In the same panel a game of tic-tac-toe has been played using the symbols for male and female and the woman has won. In the foreground hovers a neon sign of the philosopher’s stone, the ultimate goal of alchemy, and a reminder of the cyborg’s ability to deconstruct and reconstruct matter as she wish. She transforms dust into super matter and water into substances with magical properties. The historical desert plain replete with pyramids, is implying that the cyborg can roam across histories and civilizations and incorporate them into her life and work. Finally I placed the shamanic headdress of a white tigress spirit on her head and arms…

(modified image and text by  Lynn Randolph, the artist behind the cover of Haraway’s Manifesto for Cyborgs)