The cyborg, according to the Cyborg Handbook, has its roots in Africa. African material culture represents a form of analog representation. Analog and digital representation are the most fundamental characteristic of the representational system in Cybernetic theory. Digital representation often takes the form of genetic code, mores code and the dictionary. Analog takes the form of waveforms and vocal intonation. In African architecture, for example, recursive scaling or fractal geometry exists in various forms. Fractal Geometry, in North Africa, associates with the feedback of the arabesque artistic form, particularly in the branches of branches forming city streets. Central Africa brings the location in rectangular wall formations. In West Africa, the fractals express themselves in circular swirls of circular houses and granies. Recursive scaling in Egyptian temples exist as a formalized version of fractal architecture. It uses fibonacci sequence, named after Leonardo Fibonacci. One of the first models for biological growth patterns, Fibonacci sequence inspired Alan Turing and others in the history of computational morphogenesis, Scholars believe that Fibonacci sequence has African origins since Fibonacci traveled to North Africa as a bo and spent years studying mathematics.

The Fourier transform is the most common frequency analysis used by most modern cyberneticists. A student of Descartes theory of equations., Joseph Fourier began his work during an expedition to Egypt where he encountered and analyzed the geometry of Egyptian architecture. In Egypt, he devised the basis for the Fourier transform. In the 1960's Seymour Papert, a computer scientist, championed hierarchical, non-recursive computing. In the mid-70's, he made a dramatic conversion to decentralized computation after his U.N. work. N. Negroponte, an engineer,developed his conceptions for self-organized computing following his study on mainly African vernacular architecture, "E. E. Just used music as both a conceptual model for decentralized biological morphogenesis, and as a cultural basis for understanding his African heritage."[pg 22}

According to James Bloggs, a Black political activist, suggested that the new cybercultural society would not be alienating to Blacks because of the labor history in which a dual identity is created as both biological automatic machines and the maker/users of machines. Many African hairstyles use recursive procedures. Black women or African-American woman in particular have been a part of the cybernetic influence. Patricia Crowings makes cyborgs for NASA. She separates herself from any imitation of African culture in her construction of cybernetics. When taking a look at the military cyborg, as well as the social cyborg, one sees more of a digital representation. Even though blacks at first may not have been involved in the proliferation of cyborgs, there influence in recursion has been felt many times.

History of the Cyborg: Index

Course Website cyborg Body & Self

Last modified 30 December 2006