After Human

Artist: Geneviève Capitanio (Suisse) · Dan Maczynski (Poland) · Chino Moya (Spain) · Rony Plesl (Czech Rep.) · Andreas Senoner (Italy)
Opening: 06.06.2024
Duration: 07.06.2024 – 31.08.2024
Steinhauser Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia
After Human

In the dawn of a new era, we find ourselves teetering on the edge of profound questions about where humanity is headed. From Heidegger‘s ponderings on the essence of technology to Lyotard‘s explorations into what it means to be human in a world where machines are becoming more like us, we‘re thrust into a brave new world where the line between human and machine blurs. This forces us to confront deep questions about existence – questions that don‘t just need answers, but demand that we rethink the very fabric of reality itself.

In the grand mosaic of human thought and innovation, each era brings its own big shifts, reshaping how we see the world and our place in it. We’re in the age of Post-human, humans and technology are evolving together. Technology is all around us, quietly blending into our everyday lives. From our smartphones to social media, it‘s becoming a part of who we are, changing how we think about ourselves and our communities. But in this digital world, a new idea of what it means to be human is emerging – a vision that goes beyond our bodies and embraces a future where we can do more than ever before.

The concept is a deep dive into what‘s next for humanity, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human. It challenges the idea that humans are special and suggests that we‘re moving into a new era where we‘re not limited by our bodies, minds, or ethics.

But what does it really mean to be post-human?
Posthumanism at its core, it‘s about breaking away from the idea that humans are the center of everything, expanding how we think about who we are and what we can be. The line between what‘s natural and what‘s made by humans blurs, imagining a future where our bodies are just vessels and our minds can go beyond what we ever thought possible.

Posthumanism is a break from the past, a departure from the usual ways we express ourselves and at the same time the roots of Posthumanism go back to humanism, which once ruled the art world during the Renaissance. But as we started looking to the stars and getting better at making things, a new way of thinking emerged – one that‘s all about progress and moving forward. Futurism, with its bold ideas and wild imagination, marked the start of a new era where we stopped only looking back and started looking ahead to what‘s next, started moving with planes, cars and so omitting. 

In contemplating the post-human, we inevitably grapple with the intersection of technology, biology, and ethics. Advances in artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cybernetics present us with the tantalizing prospect of enhancing human capabilities, extending lifespan, and even redefining the very essence of human identity. Yet, beneath the allure of such possibilities lies a complex web of ethical dilemmas and ontological questions.

One central concern pertains to the erosion of human agency in a post-human world. As we delegate decision-making processes to increasingly autonomous systems and merge with technology, the boundaries between human and non- human agents blur, raising profound questions about accountability, responsibility, and the nature of free will. Moreover, the prospect of creating entities with superior intelligence and capabilities challenges our traditional anthropocentric worldview, inviting us to reconsider our position within the broader ecosystem of sentient beings.

Post-human also invites reflection on the nature of embodiment and consciousness. As we transcend our biological limitations through technological augmentation, we confront the possibility of existing in virtual or augmented realities, decoupled from our physical bodies. This opens up new avenues for exploration and self-expression but also raises fundamental questions about the nature of subjective experience and the existential significance of embodiment.

In navigating the complexities of the post-human condition, we are called upon to cultivate a nuanced ethical framework that acknowledges the inherent dignity and worth of all beings, regardless of their form or level of enhancement. This demands a reimagining of our ethical obligations towards both fellow humans and non-human entities, grounded in principles of empathy, compassion, and respect for diversity.

In the age of post-human technological advancements, the concept of power within humanity takes on profound significance. Just as we can imagine fulfilling every desire in a state of controlled dreaming, today we can conceive of manipulating reality, our biology, and shaping the real to satisfy our deepest desires. However, this pursuit of control, success, and pleasure, though alluring, falsely implies the belief that we can play at being and feeling like God – and although nearly everything becomes possible when we find ourselves at the height of our desires, it would only lead us to realize the emptiness of a reality devoid of lessons, challenges, and uncertainties. It is necessary to confront the ethical and existential implications of our human and technological ability. For, in the infinite multiplicity of choices, we must recognize that true fulfillment does not reside in absolute control, but in embracing the fundamental interconnectedness of all existence, far from the illusion of omnipotence, and truly understanding our role in the intricate fabric of life which, like in nature, always entails a healthy degree of transformation, failure and error to learn from.

The concept of the post-human challenges us to transcend the limitations of our current understanding of humanity and embrace the boundless possibilities of a future where the distinction between human and non-human, natural and artificial, blurs into irrelevance. It beckons us to embark on a journey of self-discovery and collective evolution, guided by a vision of a more inclusive and ethically responsible civilization.

Text: Alice Zucca