The Therapeutic Promise And The Potential of Proximity
by Terence Sharpe
Marie-Eve Levasseur’s body of work in The Therapeutic Promise and the Potential of Proximity offers a point of departure for an epistemological discussion on prosthetics, identity and compression. Across printed media, video and installation, Levasseur interrogates what the adoption of techno-capitalism means for the body. The flesh is taken as a node in a mesh that questions topology – there is an element of the digital skin graft that attempts to assess where the prosthetic self exists between embeddedness and the entanglement. Skin becomes data repository, but more than that, a mutually beneficial symbiosis occurs allowing for genetic enhancement and neural-feedback: a deeply mutational living structure. These works function as machines in that they operate through levers, pulleys, mass and communication. They question the reflexivity and control of our own transmission networks – is it our feedback or something else’s? Disregarding fetishisms for critical theorisations for a moment, the rule of law – that which manifestation of governance in the social network – suggests the emergence of very clear control tactics of what Gilles Châtelet calls ‘the tertiary state’. That is the mediating of our main regulatory technologies by the state, media and capital – something Levasseur is undeniably aware of. What she inquires is once we internalise these deeply mutational structures, who is responsible for these agencies and where does the sovereignty fall? In her Entanglements series 3-D modelling is rendered into a 2-D medium, flattening field of vision where black digits emerge from uncanny materials that seem both analogous to a crater of a foreign planet and to the surface of digitally rendered skin. The viewer is presented with an entrenchment of the corporeal and the binary, where both otherness and familiarity flex each other in the nexus of cybernetics.
Even text as I type it is a kind of hacking, a bifurcation between human and machine that realigns in the form of pixels or print. Its genesis is possible through a network that is biological, technological, economic and political. The concept of bio-politics as something involuntarily patched into us is defeatist as it assumes a viable lack of alternative. It also negates the fact that most of us are willing. Nevertheless, it would be hard to argue against the opinion that we are living in an age of colonisation of the body and time through cybernetics. Planetary-scale computation plays a fundamental role in the merging of the eye, the hand and the object. Biology is a network phenomenon. In between bodies and clouds (my desired incomputable algorithm and the predictable operator) – we encounter the transplanting of information in the form of python poetry in two separate algorithms. Separated by an ocean of blue skies a sense of the infinite is communicated. In this installation the artist communicates what technology means for the translation of information across the human | machine dialectic, constantly being expanded and reiterated. While the twentieth century questioned where and when art is, the first two decades of the twenty-first century seem to question where and when the sovereign is – does it lie with the algorithm or the content? What does prosthesis mean for citizenship and its identity politics?