TRANSHUMANIST ARTS STATEMENT
(written 1982, revised 2002)
Transhumanist Arts represent the aesthetic and creative culture of transhumanity.
Transhumanist Artists are developing new and varied modes of art.
Our aesthetics and expressions are merging with science and technology in designing increased sensory experiences.
Transhumanist Artists want to extend life and overcome death.
We plan to do so with vitality and amplified creativity.
Emotions are integral to sensing and understanding life.
We exercise a transhumanist ecology and freedom of self-awareness and self-responsibility.
If our art represents who we are, then let us choose to be transhumanist not only in our bodies, but also in our values.
The Transhumanist Arts embrace the creative innovations of transhumanity.
We are ardent activists in pursuing infinite transformation, overcoming death and exploring the universe.
As Transhumanist Art comes into focus, as the tools and ideas of our art continue to evolve, so too shall we.
Natasha Vita-More, written 1982.
Copyright © 2003.
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1. FAQ What is
Transhumanist Arts is an art period reflecting creative works of transhumanity. Just as Modern Art represents much of the arts of the 20th Century, Transhumanist Arts covers the late 20th Century into the 21st Century. The Transhumanist Arts period coalesces arts, sciences and technologies in reflecting the efforts of transhumans in enhancing and augmenting our minds and bodies as we strive for superlongevity and ultimately indefinite lifespans. The ideas generated by those whose work is transhumanist in scope, exemplifies the content of the transhumanist culture and is generated through many modes, from painting to New Media, and modes yet to be discovered. Transhumanist Arts include creative works by scientists, engineers, technicians, philosophers, athletes, educators, mathematicians, etc., who may not be artists in the traditional sense, but whose vision and creativity are integral to transhumanity.
The Transhumanist Arts Statement (link http://www.extropic-art.com) was authored by Natasha Vita-More (formerly Nancie Clark) (link http://www.natasha.cc) in 1982 and edited in 1999. The Transhumanist Arts period encompasses the Extropic Art genre and its subsets Automorph and Exoterra arts. Extropic Arts is Transhumanist Arts with a spin - an extropian flare. The Extropic Art Manifesto (link http://www.extropic-art.com) was authored by Natasha Vita-More in 1997 and is on board the Cassini on its voyage to Saturn. This is the first time the written words "We are transhumans" will be leaving our Planet on its way through our Solar System. Hundreds of people around the world have signed the Manifesto.
The first Transhumanist Arts piece was Performance Art " Breaking Away" which storyline themes human evolution in breaking away from our biological restraints and breaking away from earth's gravity as we head into space. The piece was performed by Natasha Vita-More at Red Rocks Amphitheater and sponsored by the University of Colorado Film Department. Don Yannacito, Director of Film Studies Program for independent filmmakers, filmed the performance.
Later Transhumanist Arts (or "TransArt") pieces include a painting exhibition at EZTV Los Angles, video "2 Women in B&W" which received special recognition at Women In Video, 1985, "T - and Counting" (in deference to FM-2030, Marvin Minsky, Carl Sagan, Hans Moravec, Anais Nin, Susan Sontag and other transhumans, futurists and great thinkers) which was exhibited at the United States Film Festival, 1992. There have been many digital art pieces and net.art pieces covering the 1990s.
2. FAQ What were early
influences on Transhumanist Arts and the Extropic Art Movement?
Early artists who were interested in Transhumanist Arts that I either collaborated with or exhibited with in the art world were Timothy Leary http://www.leary.com/ (icon), John Dorr (famous for starting EZTV http://www.eztvmedia.com/ which is now internationally recognized Video art performance space), Eric Orr (who has exhibited his sculpture throughout the World), Robert Thrumbull (Kinetic artist and architect), Howard Cohen first artist to work with robotics, Bill Viola (video maverick), Francis Ford Coppola http://www.zoetrope.com/ was an early collaborator and inspiration when I was at his studio Zoetrope in Hollywood and we worked on the first High Definition Film which I was in. Another truly incredible artist is Richard Lowenberg who set up the first Internet community and who I collaborated with on the 1979 project "Arts & Sciences '79" in which 30 well known artists and 30 well known scientists met for a week of brain storming. Other remarkable artist is Pam Lifton-Zoline (established a foundation and school for creativity in Telluride, Colo), Vito Acconci Italian performance artist http://www.artincontext.com/artist/a/vito_acconci/ and probably the recognized performance artists in the world and who was an early influence and collaborator in the 1980s when I met him in San Francisco. Also, an early colleague and inspiration in the area of video was and is Bill Voila http://www.cnca.gob.mx/viola/index.html who is an internationally famous video artist. I love his work and am honored that we met early on. Marian Gray was also an early fabulous inspiration and collaborator. As a photographer of performance art, Marian's photographic collection is superlative. Today Stelarc http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/ may collaborate on a mountain muscle Internet piece, and Marque Cornblatt's http://www.falsegods.com/ with a transhumanist exhibition. Some others who have had influence on Transhumanist Arts are Marvin Minsky http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/minsky/minsky.html, Fiorella Terenze http://www.fiorella.com/, Karl Sims http://www.biota.org/conf97/ksims.html, Ebon Fisher http://www.word.com/jaime/bionic/page2.html, Charles Ostrum, and David Bowie.
3. FAQ Is Extropic Art a Movement?
Extropic Art is a movement and there are several hundred artists and scientists who have signed the manifesto.
If you would like names of movements, genres and periods as well
as individuals who inspired Transhumanist Arts period and Extropic Art, then it
would be all art periods and movements and all creative individuals.
Specifically, however, Abstract Art, Performance Art, Kinetic Art, Cubism,
Techno Art, science fiction and Communications Art. In these specific genres are
numerous artists whose work has influenced Transhumanist Arts and Extropic Art
and continues to influence. Today, however, Transhumanist Arts is more
influenced by the work done in the sciences, especially biotechnology and
molecular engineering, which will have great impact on the art of our future.
Soon artists will be designing new bodies and new types of senses.
I have a later list from 1997 onward, hundreds of artists have written to me and sent their names to be added to the Extropic Art Manifesto.
Also, a great influence and colleague is ASCI http://www.asci.org/ which we are delighted to be affiliated with. ASCI puts on excellent conferences in New York and is at the center of arts and sciences.
3. FAQ What is the
In my book Create/Recreate: the 3rd Millennial Culture (http://www.extropic-art.com/createrecreate.htm) I explain the beginnings of transhumanist ideas as presented by FM-2030 at UCLA in the 1980s, and at the New School earlier on. I also cover the extropian influence on transhumanism as well as the influences of science and technology on our emerging culture.
Art works were produced and exhibited at the well known LA Digital Gallery EZTV, at Electronic Café International, at the University of Colorado, UCLA, San Francisco Art Center, and videos were exhibited in "Women In Video", US Film Festival. The art world is an important culture (and a multimillion dollar industry) and has a lot of influence on society. Thus, I would add Transhumanist Arts as an important cultural event in the early 1980s. On television, the first transhumanist show was produced in 1985 called "Transcentury Update" which I produced and hosted with the advice of FM-2030.
4. FAQ Why Art in a World of Science and Technology?
The question of why we want to live longer, healthier and grow more intelligent, live indefinitely and develop an enhanced intelligence, creativity and transhumanist compassion. The art of life.
'We have responsibilities and concerns and the wisdom to deal with them. How we use technology and science, and what type of content we lend to our arts is not a flimsy affair. We must be conscientious and sensible, as well as daring and innovative. We must consider who we are in a world where the machine is becoming smarter and smarter, where the impossible is now quite possible." ("Culture In The Making" from Create/Recreate)
When we think of the arts, it is necessary to stretch our imaginations to a time when humanity will steer evolution. We are at the precipice of navigating this course now.
There are many concerns and theories about the future of the arts, but if the focus overemphasizes theory, content is neglected. Theory is necessary to assess content, but content must arise out of culture. Content is the pulse. It can reflect culture as a cultural portrait or it can steer culture by presenting a vision. How we engage in new technologies will reflect this.
5. FAQ How do we
achieve/maintain direction as Transhumanist Artists?
By checking and rechecking the barometer of society and planning for the long range. If the pioneering technologies are focusing on extreme life extension and the innovative biotechnologies that will augment our brains and bodies are in the forefront, this is a cue. To learn more about the international art movement, please refer to the Transhumanist Arts Center located at http://www.extropic-art.com. Here you will find the Transhumanist Arts Statement http://www.extropic-art.com/transart.htm
Become active on the Internet, join Extropy Institute, the Foresight Institute, The Singularity Institute, and contribute ideas to Transhuman Culture InfoMark. Also, you may want to exhibit your own creative ideas on at the Transhumanist Arts Virtual Gallery.
The best defense is an aesthetic offence.