Metal and Flesh
For more than 3,000 years, humans have explored uncharted geographic and spiritual realms. Present-day explorers face new territories born from the coupling of living tissue and metal, strange lifeforms that are intelligent but unconscious, neither completely alive nor dead. Our bodies are now made of machines, images, and information. We are becoming cultural bodies in a world inhabited by cyborgs, clones, genetically modified animals, and innumerable species of human/information symbionts.
Ollivier Dyens's Metal and Flesh is about two closely related phenomena: the technologically induced transformation of our perceptions of the world and the emergence of a cultural biology. Culture, according to Dyens, is taking control of the biosphere. Focusing on the twentieth century—which will be remembered as the century in which the living body was blurred, molded, and transformed by technology and culture—Dyens ruminates on the undeniable and irreversible human/machine entanglement that is changing the very nature of our lives.
About the Author
Ollivier Dyens is Assistant Professor of French at Concordia University in Montreal.
"a very important contribution to the growing field of body-studies and to media culture, at large." —Marisa S. Olson, AI
“An arresting document suffused with moments of intense and beautiful poetry, with a bold and expansive vision of culture.”
—Derrick de Kerckhove, Director, The McLuhan Program, University of Toronto
“Dyens’s discussion of the most momentous issues we face is creative, sophisticated, and also—shockingly enough—clear and sensible. An important contribution to our understanding of who we are and what we are becoming.”
—Crispin Sartwell, Chair of Humanities and Sciences, Maryland Institute College of Art
“Metal and Flesh shows that Ollivier Dyens is one of the best contemporary thinkers of our breathtaking techno-cultural evolution.”
—Pierre Lévy, Professor of Cyberculture, University of Quebec a Trois Rivieres, and author of Collective Intelligence and Becoming Virtual
“We techno-organic beings, born from the re-mix of pixels and particles, growing on a substrate of global connective tissue, will find that Ollivier Dyens’s illuminating, engaging, and insightful book takes us to the furthest edge of the post-biological culture. His is a non-linear vision of emergent mind and transformative body. Total immersion is recommended!”
—Roy Ascott, Founding Director, CAiiA-STAR (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts), University of Wales, and Science Technology and Art Research Centre, University of Plymouth