»Transhumanism updates are available«

12 – 18 March, 2018 | digitalspring.at

Submission deadline: 1 November 2017 

Digital Spring is a biennial media art festival, which is organized by ARGEkultur, subnet, Salzburger

Kunstverein, Center for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at the University of Salzburg and other

partners. The next festival will be held in March 2018 in Salzburg and deals with “Transhumanism”. By 2045, humans will have transcended their biological limitations, predicts futurist and chief developer at Google Ray Kurzweil, a visionary of the so-called transhumanist movement. Transhumanism examines the possibilities of transcending biological limits with the help of technology by increasingly merging humans with machines. In a posthuman future, today’s humans with all their biological weaknesses and susceptibility to error ought to be transcended. The ultimate goal is to separate the unity between body and soul completely. (Radical) transhumanists hope to one day be able to digitalize our knowledge, our abilities and our personality. This digital Me could be uploaded into any virtual body and virtual worlds. By doing so, we would no longer be dependent on our mortal shells and thus could live forever. Transhumanists see the potential for the liberation from current human limitations in connection to a variety of research fields – medicine, genetics, biochemistry, nanotechnology and information technology, which should allow us to artificially recreate a human or some of his parts. For instance, the “Human Brain Project” funded by the EU wants to replace individual parts of the human brain with artificial brain parts – computer chips – in order to defeat diseases such as Parkinson’s. Many transhumanists want to start even earlier: by modifying the genetic pool of future children, they want to prevent diseases from breaking out in the first place. The singularists, however, are counting on artificial intelligence and the, in their opinion not so distant, “Day of Singularity”, the moment in which machines have become more intelligent than humans.

Brave new digital world?

What are the consequences of these developments and prospects and who has access to these technologies? Will we become cyborgs in a postmodern, post patriarchal, post capitalist and post gender society, such as the one Donna Haraway portrays in “Cyborg Manifesto”? Could this possibly achieve the egalitarian distribution of education and the mitigation of physical as well as psychological suffering? Or will we only become vulnerable to cyber-attacks and viruses, which can steal not only our personal data but also our thoughts, or hack our bodies, for instance to disable our pacemakers? What ramifications could ensue for forms of social organization? Is there a risk of creating new capitalist class systems, which separate society by those who can afford to upload and those who cannot? Will this transport current racist and sexist tendencies and the eugenics horrors of the past directly into the future, into the “brave new world” of transhumanists, one in which there only exist white, healthy, attractive and intelligent heterosexuals? What consequences does the technological modification of the human body have for the industry, the military and future methods of warfare? And is the development of complete artificial intelligence really the end of the human species, like Stephen Hawking, head of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk or Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak warn us?


To: office@digitalspring.at

Supporting documents:
Synopsis (max. 500 words), detailed description of the project including the technical rider, budget plan, CV of the contributing artists.

Additional necessary documents for the art scholarship by the province of Salzburg: evidence of the connection to Salzburg.
The entire application must not be bigger than 10MB!

Time of production:
December 2017 – March 2018
12. to 18. March 2018
Cornelia Anhaus, festival management: office@digitalspring.at