Marquard Smith

Marquard Smith is Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, University of Westminster, London. He is a Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Visual Culture.

  • The Prosthetic Impulse

    The Prosthetic Impulse

    From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future

    Marquard Smith and Joanne Morra

    Where does the body end? Exploring the material and metaphorical borderline between flesh and its accompanying technologies.

    Prosthesis—pointing to an addition, replacement, extension, enhancement—has become something of an all-purpose metaphor for the interactions of body and technology. Concerned with cybernetics, transplant technology, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, among other cultural and scientific developments, "the prosthetic" conjures up a posthuman condition. In response to this, the 13 original essays in The Prosthetic Impulse reassert the phenomenological, material, and embodied nature of prosthesis without dismissing its metaphorical potential. They examine the historical and conceptual edge between the human and the posthuman—between flesh and its accompanying technologies. Rather than tracking the transformation of one into the other, these essays address this borderline and the delicate dialectical situation in which it places us. Concentrating on this edge, the collection demonstrates how the human has been technologized and technology humanized.

    The eclectic approach taken by The Prosthetic Impulse draws on disciplines ranging from gender studies, philosophy, and visual culture to psychoanalysis, cybertheory, and phenomenology. The first section, "Carnality: Between Phenomenology and the Biocultural" concentrates on the organic, describing a body that, by its very materiality, is always and already prosthetic. The second section, "Assembling: Internalization. Externalization," considers the technological qualities and peculiarities of prosthesis, raising questions about the ways in which film, photography, AI, drawing, and literature—representation itself—can be situated within the framework of a prosthetic discourse. Taken together, the essays suggest that prosthesis is material as well as metaphorical. "It is just a matter of pondering where the inelegant edges lie," the editors write, "and living them most wonderfully."

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.95
    • Paperback $33.95 £27.00
  • Stelarc

    Stelarc

    The Monograph

    Marquard Smith

    A user's guide to Stelarc, the international performance artist whose extreme performances explore the borderland between bodies and machines.

    Stelarc is the most celebrated artist in the world working within technology and the visual arts. He is both an artist and a phenomenon, using his body as medium and exhibition space. Working in the interface between the body and the machine, employing virtual reality, robotics, medical instruments, prosthetics, and the Internet, Stelarc's art includes physical acts that don't always look survivable—or, as science fiction novelist William Gibson puts it in his foreword, "sometimes seem to include the possibility of terminality."

    Stelarc's projects include Third Hand, a grasping and wrist rotating mechanism with a rudimentary sense of touch that is attached to the artist and activated by EMG from other body areas; Amplified Body, in which the artist performs acoustically with his brainwaves, muscles, pulse, and blood flow signals; and the Stomach Sculpture, a device—or "aesthetic adornment"—placed in the artist's stomach and presented through video. Works in progress include the Extra Ear Project, a soft prosthesis of skin and cartilage to be constructed on the artist's arm. Stelarc's work both reflects and determines new directions in performance art and body art. Although there have been hundreds of articles written about Stelarc since he began performing in the late 1960s, Stelarc: The Monograph is the first comprehensive study of Stelarc's work practice in over thirty years. Gathering a range of writers who approach the work from a variety of perspectives, it includes William Gibson's account of his meetings with Stelarc, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker's emphatic "WE ARE ALL STELARCS NOW," and Stelarc himself in conversation with Marquard Smith. Taken together, these writers give us a multiplicity of ways to think about Stelarc.

    • Hardcover $30.00 £22.95
    • Paperback $28.95 £23.00