• The shamanic condition of becoming posthuman: Being embedded in scattered landscapes

Chang, Ban-Yuan, 2023, Thesis, The shamanic condition of becoming posthuman: Being embedded in scattered landscapes PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This is a research project led by series of art practice and written thesis to develop the possibility of an alternative-posthuman subject Shamanic Condition, which lies outside mainstream posthuman subject (with Western humanism as the trajectory to the position between the philosophy of technology and human beings), and discuss the affirmative fragility that the body manifests in it. This research derives from retrospection of my cultural background (Taiwan's biological multiculturalism and colonial history) and the philosophy of change in Taoism. Based on this, taking history as a mirror, through reviewing colonial history and the disidentification and heterogeneity of post-humanism to seek their echoes. The development of this alternative posthuman subject means that for the ‘Others’ who have undergone constructed modernisation (colonialism, the international system), the many contexts of posthuman generate a gap with the other's historical experience. This gap thus needs to be driven by crossover dynamism that we can fill by tapping into the experience production, hybrids of tradition and modernity, to enrich the complexity of posthuman subjects.

This research is structured by my art practice interspersed in the beginning/end of each chapter, and further discourses around the possibility of posthuman subjects with the relevant theses. It applies art practice, exploratory research, interdisciplinary research, descriptive research, and style analysis as research methodology. Thesis structure includes four chapters. They are: 1. The Self; 2. Solid body? 3. Non-human human; 4. Conclusion—Shamanic Condition.

In particular, the research focuses on theses to the philosophy of technology to first sort out the posthuman subject: N. Katherine Hayle's How we became posthuman (1999), Rossi Braidotii's The posthuman (2013), Donna J. Haraway’s Simians, Cyborg, and Women: The Reinvention and Nature (1991) et al. Rather than focusing solely on technology itself and what it means to be human, I—from reviewing Taoism's philosophy of change, colonialism's production of experience, and related art practices—have noticed that exploring identity politics of colonialism, when viewed as a bio-technology, can more effectively drive into thinking about the heterogeneity and complexity of posthuman subjects. Therefore, this research also conducts thematic exploration and mining through the theses related to colonialism and its ‘technology’ and comparison with posthuman theses. These mainly include A History of Healing in East Asia (2017) edited by Shiyung Liu and Wen-ji Wang, The Birth of the Clinic (1973) by Michael Foucault, Chinese Thought by Roel Sterckx (2019). ) and Shih-shan Susan Huang's Picturing the true form (2015), with exploration of contemporary artist Stelarc's practice about the body, machine and participants, Kadder Attia and Chen Chieh-Jen's practice about history and colonisation, and my practice about the imagined aesthetics of alternative-posthuman subject. The research question points to: Beyond reviewing humanism and cybernetics, is there any possibility to jump out from dead ends such as ‘self/others’ and identity? In the development of alternative-posthuman subjects, what kind of imagination can the manifestation of the others’ crossover be performed? Now, an understanding of today’s human’s position is necessary.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Liquidity; Sincerity; Body; Posthuman; Colonialism
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2023 14:21
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 14:21
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5620
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