Bio Mind and Techno Nature in the Performance of Memory: Arts-Based-Research and Human Enhancement

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Maria Manuela Lopes


This paper intends to examine two recent projects Enhancing the Mind’s I and Emerging Self that address notions of self-identity, the desire for freedom of form and the greater cognitive capacities promised by neuro-enhancement technologies. It is a bid on critical evaluation of the production of the artworks; departing from an understanding that the observer is not independent of reality and that observation and experience are constructed. Consciousness is considered as resulting from the organism capacities to understand its emotions and interacting context, thus the research explores the possibilities that memory and knowledge do not reflect a real exterior world, but a concrete interior world attempting to play with possibilities to generate affect and empathy in the audiences. The text reflects on the ethical side of Human Enhancement (i.e. the potentiation of biological characteristics of Human Body) and the technologies, such as Brain Computer Interaction (BCI) or digital tattoos (tattoos that have technological interactive properties), promising a refinement of nature by technology. It raises questions surrounding memory and identity through art installation. It explores whether is it possible to translate one’s emotions directly into matter, as a memory. The result is the opening of a critical gap between the way sciences produce knowledge about the subject and the affect produced by the experience of the viewer on the installation artworks.

Keywords: Arts-based Research, Neuroscience, Memory Enhancement, Consciousness, Performance, Affect, Empathy, Embodied observation


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