“As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.”
— Michel Foucault: The Order of Things. 1970
Taking our point of departure in the first season of the streaming show Westworld, we will explore what Australian-Italian feminist thinker Rosi Braidotti has named the posthuman predicament – a moment in history in which we find the monumental figure of Man and its accompanying paradigms of liberal humanism in a state of decline. Catalyzed by the multiple forces of climate change, global capitalism and technological advancement, humans seem on one hand poised to transcend its natural/cultural limitations while simultaneously hovering on the brink of planetary destruction.
The lecture’s primary focus is the cultural historiography and aesthetic features of the posthuman age with its dialectics between returning to classical, humanist ideals and jettisoning these altogether in postmodern pessimism. In addition to Westworld, visual artists such as Allyson Mitchell (CAN) and Rasmus Myrup (DK) figure as examples of posthuman temporal fiction. Together they demonstrate that when the future seems unthinkable and foreclosed, feminist and queer practices of historiography provide means of moving forward through retrospection.
Astrid Wang is a Master of Arts in Modern Culture and a curator based in Copenhagen. She works primarily within feminism, post-humanism and critical theory.
Kunstakademiet i Trondheim
Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU)