MEIN KOERPER : MEINE MASCHINE
How much is my body still my body, if it ever was?
The human body serves as an attack surface of power, in order to access the subject on the one hand, and the entire society on the other hand, Michel Focault states and describes the reciprocal relationship of usefulness and compliance of the body in a politics of constraints, the human body enters into a machinery of exploitation. Today, it is primarily the large corporations and Internet platforms that have long since exercised and further expanded their power in more than just economic terms.
Only too willing to self-monitor, we train, repair, rehabilitate, model, beautify and mechanize our bodies through cosmetics, fitness programs, supplements and medications, surgical procedures, prostheses, implants, computer-brain interfaces and other technical enhancements. The effort and results of self-optimization are constantly recorded by various programs and applications, and the data are voluntarily made available to mega-corporations, usually without criticism. Under their influence, the pressure to invest in our "body capital" on our own responsibility increases, and non-compliance is met with sanctions.
Not only at the time of futurism were the models of the machine man still linked with promises and supposedly positive expectations; also at the beginning of the Internet and the associated possibilities of a virtual body, a virtual life, e.g. in the form of an avatar in Second Life, there was hope of overcoming biographical, cultural, sexual and sociological fixations. Meanwhile, we know how much norms, prejudices, racisms, sexisms, etc., inscribed in algorithms, exert their influence on bodies (especially the female one), whether in the staging in the social media platforms or on the virtual body on the net.
Is it the euphoric vision of Google program developer Ray Kurzweil, who claims that with the help of biotechnology and artificial intelligence humanity will have overcome its biological limits, i.e. decay and death of the body, in 2045 - or are we already in the process of giving up our physical existence, in the sense of Paul Virilio, according to which our immobilized bodies are only shells of our selves, digital interfaces, being as a constant online existence in a never-ending data stream.