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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathCollective Bodies
Charged Hearts (Richards, Catherine), 1997Curiosity Cabinet, at the end of the Millenium (Richards, Catherine), 1995

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The artist who has made the strongest point about the nonphysicality of our cyborg condition is Catherine Richards in her pieces «Charged Hearts» (1997) and «Curiosity Cabinet, at the end of the Millenium» (1995). As I explain in another place, «We are all immersed in a world that requires no electronic equipment whatsoever to be «plugged in» to electromagnetic waves that bombard the earth.» Take, for instance, Richard’s interactive installation, «Charged Hearts». This piece is about «the interface of the body with electro-magnetic systems.» [7] Though it is invisible, electro-magnetic energy is nonetheless material. When the visitor picks up a bell jar the glass heart inside glows with a blue fluctuating light that is like a ‹beat.› The nearby terella (or glass container) «excites forming a luminescent plasma cloud of electromagnetic weather, a miniature version of the unimaginable wireless dynamo that surrounds the earth and hides in our household television sets.» [8] The visitor can also communicate with another visitor holding another bell jar over a glass heart by creating a winking connection with her hand. In fact, it is very difficult to isolate oneself from any link or connection in interaction with


the electro-magnetic dynamo that envelops the world, even though the terella and the heart are containers, they are not closed off or separate, but rather invisibly connected. The visitor to Richard’s «Curiosity Cabinet, at the end of the Millenium » must enter a Faraday cage of grounded copper wire mesh and close the door. The experience of a visitor inside the cage is one of an absence achieved through the great effort to become unplugged». [9] So, the liminal or cyborg body is only partly physical— the rest is made of sunshine and a network or shroud (considering the lethal side of technoculture) of electro-magnetic waves, ubiquitous and invisible. Contemporary connectivity has woven the links and threads of the web and physical transport into an elaborate garment for the body that trespasses the boundaries between the physical and non-physical, the second subsequently poorly elaborated area of cyborg imagining in Haraway’s path of associations.

The last but pervasive weakness in cyborg imagining involves overcoming dualism between individual and collective. Haraway makes this explicit: «The cyborg body is also only partly individual; it is also a collective body. The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and

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