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De/Reconstructing ourselves

2009 January 28
by Hannah Mueller

It seems that like some other people here, I have trouble liking the world Haraway puts forth in her Cyborg Manifesto. Laura’s idea about the internet being a utopian space where gender is irrelevant and everyone is connected is an idea I do really like, but I still don’t like the phrase “borg-like consciousness”. It sounds like we’re trying to make everyone the same. Online that happens in a sense, because we lose some of ourselves when we aren’t using our bodies to interact with each other. Or, do we create online bodies that are just as “good” or useful as our real ones? I don’t yet understand how much emphasis/power Haraway was trying to give to our bodies, if she makes them so changeable and permeable by technology.

Nathan Sawaya\’s Lego Art

This image is the closest I could get to my utopian vision of gender and technology. The artist’s name is Nathan Sawaya. It’s a sculpture of a person (not clearly gendered) made out of legos, who is doing what I would call “unmaking” him/herself. I liked Haraway’s idea that thinking of ourselves as cyborgs allows us to deconstruct and reconstruct ourselves. She says that instead of demonizing technology, we should be “embracing the skillfull task of reconstructing the boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of our parts” 181. So the first part of that could be opening yourself up and looking at what you’re made of, like in this picture. What doesn’t work with this image for my metaphor is that all the blocks are the same, or at least the same color. I think we’re made up of many, maybe infinite different parts, physically and intellectually and however else. Two categories of those parts are gender and technology.

[Don’t know why I couldn’t upload the picture to the post–it said there’s not enough space??]

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