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In modern society, two ideas vie for priority: a strong belief in technological progress and an established suspicion about the consequences of technology for society and the condition of man. As a result of the development of computers and mobile technology, our lives have become profoundly intertwined with, or possibly even governed by, machines which are concurrently praised and feared. If science and technology continue to develop as rapidly as they have in the past fifty years, what will the relationship between men and women and machines be in the future? Will the posthuman condition, described, among others, by Donna Haraway and Katherine Hayles, become reality, or will the cultural consequences of technological development stagnate in the next few decades?
The future mainly appears to lie in the blurring between the artificial and the real; from genetics to augmented reality, the “natural” world is combined with a created world. How will the continued interrelationship of these combined realities influence our collective condition? And what role will they play in the development of art?
AMBER CASE is a cyborg anthropologist, examining the way humans and technology interact and evolve together. Like all anthropologists, Case watches people, but her fieldwork involves observing how they participate in digital networks, analyzing the various ways we project our personalities, communicate, work, play, share ideas and even form values. Case founded Geoloqi.com, a private location-sharing application, out of a frustration with existing social protocols around text messaging and wayfinding. Case, who predicts that intensification of the human-technology interface will quickly reduce the distance between individual and community, believes that the convergence of technologies will bring about unprecedented rapid learning and communication. Dubbed a digital philosopher, Case applies her findings to such fields as information architecture, usability and online productivity. She’s currently working on a book about using anthropological techniques to understand industry ecosystems.
MANUEL DELANDA is the author of six philosophy books, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (1991), A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (1997), Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (2002), A New Philosophy of Society (2006), Deleuze: History and Science (2010), and Philosophy and Simulation (2011). He teaches two seminars at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Architecture: “Philosophy of History: Theories of Self-Organization and Urban Dynamics”, and “Philosophy of Science: Thinking about Structures and Materials”. DeLanda also teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and holds the Gilles Deleuze chair at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.
MARGRIET SCHAVEMAKER is an art historian, philosopher, and media specialist. After a career as lecturer and assistant professor at the Art History and Media Studies departments at the University of Amsterdam, she is currently the Head of Collections and Research at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Schavemaker has written extensively on contemporary art and theory, (co)edited several volumes, including Now is the Time: Art and Theory in the 21st Century (2009) and Vincent Everywhere: Van Gogh’s (Inter) National Identities (2010), and is an acclaimed curator of discursive events and public programs. Recently, new media has been high on Schavemaker’s agenda, resulting in the ARtours project: the creation of an augmented reality platform for smartphones that can be used by museums to present their collection in innovative and interactive ways both inside and outside the museum.
FLOOR VAN SPAENDONCK is director of Virtual Platform. She has a large network in the e-culture sector and broad overview of developments and opportunities, national and international. The mission of the Virtual Platform — to save the beauty, strength and quality of digital media, arts and culture — is also Floor’s personal mission. Before her engagement with Virtual Platform, Floor has previously worked for the Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunsten, Waag Society and the Mondriaan Foundation.