In contrast to the Christian belief in the immaculate conception, our age seems characterized by "the immaculate conception reversed" -- an unrestrained attitude, violating the 'sacrilege' of a traditional and ethical sexual order, an order based on the 'natural' human body. Whereas Maria once gave birth to Jesus without any kind of form of coitus, we now live in a world in which sex without conception, conception without bodies and sexualized cyberbodies are becoming increasingly normal ... Unrestrained we pounce on all kinds of technological ways to become pregnant, once the classical method fails, becomes uncertain or maybe just unnecessary: in vitro fertilization, cloning, artificial life, surrogate children and animals.
This sexless biology has its own hilarious side effects. Gerburg Treusch-Dieter, for example, wrote (in an essay for the V2_book TechnoMorphica) about the outrage in Italy concerning the 'killing' of unclaimed and undeveloped embryo's, which were frozen for more than five years. Herds of worried women offered themselves en masse as 'asylum mothers' to 'save' the embryo's and take them in their wombs ...
What is this blemish on human procreation? What are the mythological, theological and moral aspects of our present day and age, concerning this export of human reproduction away from the world of physical sex towards the technological world of clear-cut production?
Karin Spaink (NL) has written seven books, including Het Strafbare Lichaam and M/V: Doorhalen wat niet van toepassing is. She writes columns for a variety of national daily and weekly newspapers in the Netherlands. Technology, internet, medical interventions in the body and sexuality are her unfaltering subjects. At the moment of this Wiretap, she was absorbed in the subject of the female ejaculation, of which she told more. She introduced and moderated the Wiretap.
Gerburg Treusch-Dieter (D) is professor of sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin. She has done extensive research on gender politics and reproduction methodologies. In her research she relates a critical analysis of present technological developments with their effects on the individual and society. She has written Von der Sexuellen rebellion zur Gen- und Reproduktiontechnologie and Mythen der Rationalität. In 1997, she wrote an essay for V2_ Caught in the Net: From Limb-machine to Cyborg, published in the book Technomorphica. She gave a lecture based on her research on gender politics and reproduction methodologies.
Naoko Tosa (J) is media artist and researcher for the ATR Media integration & Communication Research Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan. She is a guest professor at the graduate school of Science and Technology at Kobe University and a visiting lecturer at the department of Media Art & Science at the Musashino Art University. She graduated as an engineer in Art and Technology at the University of Tokyo. In her work she concentrates primarily on the relationships between communication and emotional intelligence, consciousness and subconsciousness - using computers, video and other electronica. Her specializations are experimental film, video art, computer animations and interactive art. Her work has been exhibited at many international festivals, for example at SIGGRAPH and Ars Electronica. She has won many prizes for her research whereby she connects science to art. She gave a lecture and presentation on Neuro Kid 'Mic', a computer installation that reacts to the human voice via a microphone.
Naoko Tosa's installation Neuro Kid 'Mic' was open to the public at the Wiretap: the installation was an independently 'operating' computer with automatized facial expressions and gestures, reacting to the emotions and intonations of the visitor's voice.
Ars Electronica 99 - Life Science
Closed Reality: Embryo