Week 4_Self-alienation and Art_Wenjing Wu

It seems to me that the “self-alienation” which Benjamin mentioned in the end of his article turns out to be more and more noteworthy. The video of Orlan’s plastic surgery art that Prof. Vesna showed us on class was everything but aesthetically pleasing for me. The information I get from Orlan’s and Stelarc’s art is that modern human beings are becoming so objective towards our own body that the primitive need of avoiding pain can be divorced from the pursuit of art. I tracked a little bit further on the link of  the Modern Version of Hippocratic Oath and found the responses(both from doctors and non-doctors) far more interesting than the oath itself. Opinions are diverse. Medical students tended to think the original Hippocratic Oath is outdated and inappropriate due to the increasing specialization, soaring medical technology and public health policies, etc. They also complained about the brutal medical education system such as the way residencies are trained. Meanwhile, most non-doctors thought highly of the role of ethic constrainments that the oath played, for nowadays doctors “are there just for the big bucks”. And the noble motivation of taking good care of people’s health changed into sheer indifference towards the sufferings of human companions. Based on the reasons above, the Hippocractic Oath now is reckoned as the “Hypocritic Oath” by many people.oath1 At the same time , the networking technology today is also developing into an intrusive issue for personal privacy. Google’s Hard Drive(GDrive), for example, allows users to store their personal documents up in the network cloud. Are you really OK with that, even if Google has the access to your documents at any time? The era of “Dispersed Authorship” mentioned by Roy Ascott is scary to me, let alone the Megan Meier case.

After Stefanie introduced us the amazing animation “Symphony” by Erick Oh and a few clicks on the links that offered by the course webpage(er…I skipped the “flesh and blood” part), I realized how pessimistic and narrow my previous view is. There are tremendous amount of artists making great effort to exhibit their serious(or playful?) meditation about the problems originated from medicines, diseases and human bodies. Such as Virgil Wong’s Male Pregnancy and Genochoice, which involved public interactions in the projects, and Kenneth Snelson’s sculptures that applied nature’s physical forces into 3 dimensional space. easy_k_smal_sculpture

Finally, I find myself most intrigued by those art works with “emotional warmth”, as I call them. One of Alberto’s recommendations, Jonathan Harris’s Story Balloons is my favorite piece(Here’s his talk on Ted.com, including another awesome project “we feel fine”). By taking pictures of randomly picked strangers in an Asian country holding colorful balloons with their wishes on them, as well as pictures of the individual’s hands and a funny face, he provoked his audience to know and to care more about what’s happening to the people around. Another fabulous job was Life Writer by Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer. In this project, users can create digital creature(they can move around!) through the act of typing.
Jonathan Harris’s Story Balloons


Life Writer 2006, Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer


Comments are closed.