*This email is addressed to the fictitious character Theodore from the award winning Hollywood movie ‘Her’ directed and produced by Spike Jonze in 2013. Also, spoiler alert.
Subject: [More than Human World: A Wake-up Call from Posthuman]
Hope you are doing well?
I am so sorry to hear that Samantha left you for the technological singularity. Honestly, I was really astonished when you made your mind up to be with her - I will always support you and your courageous decision.
While observing your actions and interactions with Sam, I found myself questioning what makes a human and what does not. Simply put, considering you as human and Samantha as A.I. (artificial intelligence) seems quite an outdated and traditional way of understanding the world. The definition of human often suggests human beings have a capacity for limitless expansion towards their own perfection, whatever obstacles or other individuals they encounter along the way. Would this definition apply if humans did not engage with technology, the virtual environment or material networks? Honestly, between you and me, when was the idea of human ever singular?
All these questions inspired me to focus on what it means to admit non-humans into our understanding of the world and human society, rather than questioning the boundary between human and non-human.
Unfortunately, I have not had the cool experience of falling in love with an A.I., but I am also having similar experiences engaging with other networks. Undoubtedly, other humans have done so too through the course of history; the wheel extends the feet while the computer and the tiny little smart phone extends the brain’s capacity to process with greater accuracy. At this point, it seems almost inevitable that to be human will mean weaving technology, a product of human intelligence, into our physical and spiritual existence.
I would like to introduce 9 artists who reflect on dichotomies influencing the human world and beyond, such as artificial and natural, family and stranger, human and environment. These can be understood as the alternative worlds beyond the one we live in. The artists do not suggest what the future will be. Rather they probe what we have missed or overlooked, as humans who have situated ourselves at the centre of the world. The strange creatures here (from where?) are imbued with a fascinating otherness, solicit our glances. The works are oddly familiar, but also startlingly other. What does it mean to admit this form of otherness into our lives? If anyone knows the answer to this question best, it’s you Theodore. Didn’t opening up and connecting with Samantha engender empathy and deep understanding within you? I hope this exhibition creates a similar experience and you enjoy exploring these ideas.