Digital Technology, Cyborg Art, and Placing Oneself in the Art Space

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History

Whether or not we have noticed it, the arts have already produced cyborgs -- and not just in the form of compound beings, such as satyrs and centaurs. Musicians and their instruments, painters and theirs, have always worked as compound, compounded entities. As in so many other areas involving the arts, digital information technologies simply permit us to see this relationship in a new way.

The manipulated photography of Skai Fowler places multiple emphasis upon this relationship of arttist and technology. In the first place, like all photographers, she only is a photographer when she works with her equipment, whether digital or analogue. Second, Fowler, who has worked as a model at art schools, uses digital technology to enter (a simulation of) herself into a picture space originally created by another -- in the examples shown here works by Rubens and Ingres.

Writing about her own digitally manipulated images, Jennifer González charges that "Photographs seduce the viewer into an imaginary space of visually believable events, objects and characters. The same can be said of assemblage -- the use of found or manufactured (often commonplace) objects to create a three-dimensional representational artifact, [or] . . . representing a cyborg through photomontage" ("Envisioning Cyborg Bodies: Notes from Current Research," Cyborg Handbook, 271).

How does Fowler deconstruct such seduction? What others does she add? In how many ways does she and her art join in a cyborg relationship?

Cyborg OV