Luke Robert Mason on Coding Consciousness: Transhuman Aesthetics in Performance

Luke Robert Mason presented an artist’s work-in-progress talk in Teleplace on “Coding Consciousness: Transhuman Aesthetics in Performance” on Wednesday 17th November 2010. This was a mixed event in brickspace and cyberspace, with a 2-way link between the two spaces.

Event listings on Facebook: PHYSICALLY – Milburn House, Warwick University, 18:30. VIRTUALLY– TelePlace 18.45. Luke gave a great talk and interactive performance on transhumanist themes such as mind uploading from an artistic and aesthetic perspective.

Besides the participants in Milburn House, about 20 participants attended the talk in Teleplace and contributed to the discussion with very interesting questions and comments. The sound system had been professionally set up and remote participants have been able to listen not only to the main speaker, but also to the questions and comments of other participants in Milburn House. For those who could not attend we have recorded everything (talk, Q/A and discussion) on video.

There are 2 videos:

VIDEO 1 – 600×400 resolution, 1 hour 18 min
VIDEO A – 600×400 resolution, 1 hour 22 min, taken (mostly) from a fixed point of view by Phillip Galinsky

Abstract: I aim to practically explore and challenge the performance of identity as mediated by current and potential technological advance. We have reached a ‘second modernity’ where we are able to enter the digital realm and simultaneously augment our own reality, allowing us to process and explore multiple identities through the ‘coding’ of our conscious experience onto digital avatars, such as those in Second Life. However, this serves to challenge the politics of our bio-representation.

I want to explore, through creative performance techniques, the possibility of being able to ‘upload’ our consciousness. Ann Weinstone comments, on artificial life, “[c]ode is coming to function as the transcendental, unifying, and ideal substance of life-for the non-referential, the unmediated-while at the same time, it retains attributes, or the trace if you will, of writing, replacing the body with a less mortal letter. ” We already see ourselves in the 20th Century as alpha- numerical data (i.e. DNA) with our bio-metrics becoming our bio-identity.

‘Coding Consciousness’ represents both the great challenge and great limitation of technology. My aim is to look at how performance can transcend these current technological limitations and utter suggestions as to the creative application of life without boundaries – creating a mind free to transcend positional limits by embodying technology.”

Luke Robert Mason is a University of Warwick, Theatre and Performance Studies Undergraduate Student and Live Artist. He will share some of his current research with the aim to provoke debate. There will be an extensive Q&A session following the talk and he is eager to capture participant’s views and opinions.