Technologies such as prostheses and biosensors, are active means of lived experimentation: they enable forms of hybrid embodiment such as the cyborg, whose diverse representations by artists and performers have infiltrated our societal normative regime. To talk about body politics is therefore to talk about the technologies the body incorporates, how they probe its alleged integrity.
This issue becomes even more urgent if we take into account recent development in artificial intelligence (AI), spearheaded by short-sighted, all-devouring capitalistic infrastructures. Performance theories and practices offer a fertile ground of experimentation with this issue. Yet, there is a tendency to frame AI and body technologies as either material extensions of one’s body or external objects one perceives with. In his talk, Marco Donnarumma argues that such approaches support technocratic systems of beliefs by discarding immaterial and pre-conscious aspects of technological incorporation. Key to this argument is the notion of automaticity; a subjective form of psychic attunement with particular technical instruments. The performativity of certain bodily thresholds enables forms of human–machine codependence, where body and technology affect each other through discipline, training and relational economies of desire.
As a case study, Donnarumma offers an analysis of his own performance with an artificially intelligent body technology. This reveals an inherently hybrid and relational corporeality, which confounds the boundaries between human and technical, material and immaterial, perceptual and psychological, conscious and pre-conscious.
Marco Donnarumma is a media and performance artist, director, composer, and scholar. Since the early 2000s, he has been interbreeding contemporary performance, media art, and computer music to inquire into the recondite matters of the human body. He is widely known for his performances probing the body through sound physicality, technological engineering, and movement research.