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Speculation of Posthuman's Identity

This project will speculate the identity of posthuman and discuss the blurring boundary and interlaced relationship of human, god, machine and animal in posthumanism. In addition, we will talk about a question what religion is in posthumanism in our two artefacts.



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We will take a new look at post-humanism based on the concept of semiotics raised by Roland Barthes, and further take the theory of material-semiotics as the method for storytelling of the relationships between human, god, machine and animal. After researching several existing artistic works about the post-human subject such as ‘International Klein Blue’ by Yves Klein and ‘Westworld’, a fiction teleplay by HBO, we summarized and compared their interpretations and assumptions for this topic and then raised our own questions.


Human & Animal


We evolved from animals and we belong to them in scientific classification. However, we socially separate from animal and even control or dominate them.


God & Animal


In most fairy tales, gods can become various animals by superpower, while animals can also undergo arduous adventure in order to become a human form. Legends magnify the mystery of animals in people's minds, and animal totem is an important evidence of animal worship by ancestors. The Chinese zodiac and dragon worship are two good examples.


Human & Machine


Humans strengthen, modify or repair themselves through external force involvement like gene editing, IVF and prosthesis while machine are making effort to let oneself more humanlike by imitating human’s emotion and social behavior. Would there be a perfect balance point between the mixture of machine and human, and should this biological form at that time be more called machine or human?


Human & God


How to define the meaning of life and death if we can modify the body and prolong the life through cyborg form? Would the obvious different boundary, immortal life, between human and god be broken at posthuman era?


Machine & God & Human


If immortal life and the power to control everything is the form of god that humans seek and think of, does the program coder become the god in the eyes of machines or does the artificial intelligence become a new form of god in the eyes of posthuman?


Machine & Animal


People in the past domesticated animals as labor while today’s human-being learnt to use machines to free their hands. Does it mean machine is or will become a domesticated ‘mechanical animal’ in the future?




According to these speculative questions, we made two artefacts, hoping to attract audience’ attention on blurring boundary of objects in post-humanism and inspire their own opinions on it. We would not provide a true answer of the situation of post-humanist society but more importantly we hope to use our artefacts as a trigger to start a discussion forum among the audience. We created a speculative animation as background summary and an installation to attract people’s attention and open the discussion of identity and boundary in posthumanism.


People may usher in a new religion: dataism. This is what our installation is trying to express. We found three small Buddha statues of different religious representatives, projected them onto the code, and used the code to make a pixel-like religious buddha statues video. The emergence of religion has given the human world a new order and moral law. It not only enhances the sense of superiority of human beings, but also gives rise to different levels of society. 

In the past, we thought that religion is the emergence of a supernatural phenomenon or God, but some people think that as long as it is a set of unalterable moral laws invented by human beings, warning human beings that they can benefit as long as they follow such laws, this is religion. Religion is to consolidate the social order that one imagines. From this point of view, whether it is the temple before the advent of Christianity and Buddhism, or the humanism that emerged after the Industrial Revolution, it is considered a religion.

Humanism experienced the prosperity of liberalism in the 19th century, then evolutionary humanism threatened the world, social humanism saved the world, and then liberalism returned to its dominant position at the end of the Cold War. These are all iterations of religion. There maybe scientific humanism in the future. However, scientific and technological humanism is not concerned with the experience of everyone, but will pay more attention to the experience of "homo deus".



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Crawford, K. and Joler, V. (2018). Anatomy of an AI System: The Amazon Echo As An Anatomical Map of Human Labor, Data and Planetary Resources. AI Now Institute and Share Lab. Available at: [access date: 25 November 2019]

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