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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II
BRANDON (Cheang, Shu Lea), 1998

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fiction porno «I.K.U.» or her Web-based artistic work «The Brandon Project» (1995-1999), which all thematicize the utopias and realities of transgressing gender boundaries, then it appears to be quite characteristic that as transgender subjects, their real and fictitious protagonists are frequently perceived by society as ‹monsters›—while they identify themselves in a positive way as cyborgs. [34]

But what is it that at a more fundamental level constitutes the appeal of the «promises of monsters»? Deviation from the norm no doubt has a particularly attractive effect where the norm itself preserves existing relations of power that severely curtail individuals or whole groups of subjects in their existence and their development. While those who benefit from the existing power relations regard the monster as a counter-image and «significant other» of their subject position, it has a resistant potential in that as the epitome of transgression and mixing, it is neither the ‹one› nor the ‹other›: «The peculiarity of the organic monster is that s/he is both Same and Other. The monster is neither a total stranger nor completely familiar; s/he exists in an in-between zone


[…] the monstrous other is both liminal and structurally central to our perception of normal subjectivity.» [35]

In an age in which we—to use Haraway's words—are all cyborgs, this can be unquestionably be asserted for the hybrids of organism and machine as well as for the way in which the characteristics of the cyborg body are recognizable in the condensed profile Rosi Braidotti draws up for the monstrous body: «The monstrous body is a shifter, a vehicle that constructs a web of interconnected and yet potentially contradictory discourses about his or her embodied self.» [36] Understood as a figure of transgression, displacement and confusion, the cyborg, like the monster, therefore possesses a resistant potential. [37]

However, if one looks back at the traditional stories of creation, in which we encounter artificial creatures as monsters, the pressing question arises of how a factor of deviance is able to become a factor of subversion, because the uncontrollability of the creation is already a central theme that marks the monstrous as a deviation from the norm. But as a rule, this factor of deviation —traditional stories of creation as well as their rerendering and rewording in literature

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