Cyborg Manifesto


Feb 20, 2013 (5 years and 4 months ago)


Bodies + Machines:

Cyborg, as used for example by Donna Haraway (1991)
and Adele Clarke (1998), means the intermingling of
people, things (including information technologies),
representations, and politics in a way that challenges
both the romance of essentialism and the hype about
what is technologically possible. It acknowledges the
interdependence of people and things, and it shows just
how blurry the boundaries between them have become.

(Bowker & Star, 1999)

Does ideology of technology which
promises to liberate the body from
its constraints correspond to reality
in which we live, or does it only
reproduce the existing patterns of
power and authority?


As the information systems of the world expand and
flow into each other, and more people use them for more
different things, it becomes harder to hold to pure or
universal ideas about representation or information,
about identity

Representations of monsters / hybrids are a reflection of
that experience of (ruptured) identity (imagined cyborgs
in art and fiction, popular culture)

Real cyborgs (technologies of health, beauty ...)


Picture of possible unity

Framework is rearrangement of social relations
related to science & technology

Current movement from organic, industrial society
to a polymorphous, information society

Analyses of Cyborg

AAA annual meetings: cyborg anthropology
sessions (mid

Cyborg Handbook
(Gray 1995)

The Cyborg Manifesto

(Haraway 1985, 1991)

historical images of cyborgs emerge at times of
intense change that involve thinking of how
humanity is impacted by technology (Gonzáles


Source: [accessed Sept. 25, 2002] courtesy
of Sarah Oelker


Source: google search for ‘cyborg’ [accessed Sept. 25, 2002]
courtesy of Sarah Oelker

Cyborg Representations

Grotesque images that involve imagining the
relationships bw people and things that are

Bad science fiction or crucial notion for understanding
technoscience, and how the knowledge (of science and
technology) is shaping lived experience

Source: google search for ‘cyborg’ [accessed Sept. 25, 2002]
courtesy of Sarah Oelker


Source: google search for ‘cyborg’ [accessed Sept. 25, 2002]
courtesy of Sarah Oelker


Source: google search for ‘cyborg’
[accessed Sept. 25, 2002] courtesy of
Sarah Oelker

cyborg representations

hybrid identities

Cyborg Representations: Gonzáles

Organic cyborg (monster of multiple species)

Mechanical cyborg (techno
human amalgamation)

Cyborg consciousness (abstract, amalgamated, hybrid)

Cyborg body politics?

Gendered cyborg? (social
control over woman’s/man’s body)

Why are robots not cyborgs?

Cyborg Representations

The notion of purity based on membership in a
single, pristine racial, sexual, or even religious
group does not hold in the ‘borderlands’ (the
margins) that is populated by cyborgs

Cyborgs are the iconography of modern
experience (not natural, but mediated through

Why do they reflect a process of rethinking human
nature? (use examples from your own search)







Cyborg Representations: Gonzáles

Cyborg images appear when the current model of a
human being does not fit a new paradigm

a hybrid
model of existence is required to encompass a new,
complex and contradictory lived experience

the cyborg
body becomes the historical record of change in human
in the realm of fantasy

How is the cyborg body reflecting modern experience in
each of the cases that are discussed by González?

What is the habitat of each of these beings?

“The dichotomies that reflect a shift from the comfortable old hierarchical

domination to the new networks I call the Informatics of Domination”

A Cyborg Manifesto

(1991), 161





Microbiology, tuberculosis

Organic division of labour




Racial chain of being

White Capitalist Patriarchy


Population control

Stress management

Immunology, AIDS

Ergonomics /cybernetics of labor

Genetic Engineering


Artificial Intelligence

imperialism, United Nations

Informatics of Domination

Informatics of Domination

biotechnology & medicine have the power for
liberation but in fact they do not reverse the
existing patterns of power & authority

if they are further strengthening the cultural definitions of

through practice that involves male professional power and its
inscription on a woman’s body

through research guided by the commercial interests of
industrial complex’

Cyborgs in art and life: fictional cyborgs

Human with mechanical attributes:

(4 look female; 6 look male)

L’Horlogere (mechanical mistress)

Number 18 (from Dragonball Z)


The Bionic Woman

Jax (from Mortal Kombat)

6 Million Dollar Man

Molly and Dixie Flatline (from Neuromancer)

Seven of Nine (from Star Trek)

Machine with human attributes:
(1 looks female; 4 look male; 1 can change its appearance)

Data (from Star Trek)

Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 1

Terminator 2)

Vicky (from Small Wonder)

1000 (from Terminator 2)

Andrew (from Bicentennial Man)


Human with magical attributes (magic as another way of controlling nature):

(1 male, 1 female)

Harry Potter

Fibi (from Charmed)

Cyborgs in art and life: real
life cyborgs


The technology involved:

Wearable Computers

Chips in clothes, cups

Kevin Warwick

Implant that records nerve impulses

Steve Mann

Electrodes and laser computer display in eye

Artificial limbs

Chips and gears to replace lost limb

Stem Cell Research

Transplants of nerve cells

Rat Robots

Rats w/ implants to control movement, feeling

Cloned livestock

Copies of animals, potentially used for food

Plastic pods

Lightweight barriers to seal off disease

Florida “Cyborg Family”

Microchip implants for tracking

Tom Christerson

AbioCor artificial heart


Artificial vision sensors to replace lost vision

Lexus factory in Japan

Robots doing most work; need human help

Danielle Duval

Microchip for tracking

Stephen Hawking

Motorized wheelchair and computer voice


Wearable computer w/ display covering 1 eye

“Cloned” virtual humans

animated people based on real ones

Cyborg Representations

List the organic (human) and inorganic (technological)
characteristics of cyborgs you encountered.

What was your response to these ‘beings’?

Are they monsters, hybrids?

What are they not?