Telekinesis at Virtual Futures 2.0
Our identities and actions co-exist online and have built a culture of rhetoric. Franken Beaumont was ask to speak about Telekinesis at Virtual Futures 2.0, a conference revived from the mid-90s, explored where technology has evolved from and what kind of developments are expected in the future. The conferences of 1994, '95 and '96 predicted the mass usage of the Internet and http protocol, presenting Baudrillard's philosophy as an Orwellian utopia.Telekinesis (2011) follows this paradigm, a person embodies the avatar to the extent that the “virtual rising into actual or actual falling into virtual” (Samuel Beckett, 1938, Murphy). The project focuses on the chess game Murphy and Mr. Endon play in Section 11 of Beckett's novel, whereby Murphy is trying to achieve a state of complete virtual existence.
VF 2.0 indeed represented this with Stelarc keynoting the conference, sharing the stage with Prof Kevin Warwick, who suggests we will live in a cyborg future. Warwick demonstrated his neuro experiments in controlling robotic devices locally and through cybernetics. While Stelarc's ear on arm, declared the body as obsolete. Can this be true? Is the body no longer required for action in the real world?
Telekinesis is explores reliance on cyber networks such as Facebook and Twitter, blogs and chats, whereby the virtual informs and affects the actual world in rhetoric. At what point do I become my own simulacrum? A great deal of online communication has left the aesthetics philosophy of image towards a text-based language system and has lost the relationship to the physical environment. Therefore can one question one's place in the digital when the digital is a meaningless totality of images and information?
Has the body become skeuomorphic or as Stelarc suggests, obsolete? Has the body lost the function of being a body as a great deal of action take place online? Photos and status updates are coupled with online chats and comment sections provide opportunities to create virtual relationships where the physical reactions with other people are renounced. Has our biology become a form of digital litter?
The paper that was given at Virtual Futures 2.0 can be downloaded, along with other essays exploring ideas of performance and technological philosophy, from the Archive.
About the Artist
Franken Beaumont is interested in challenging the traditional and generally assumed rules of performance. He collaborated between merging forms and is immensely interested in postmodern and the post dramatic effect on art, culture and politics. Influences are drawn from works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty and Jean Baurdillard, exploring the ideas of freedom from a humanist perspective. While Samuel Beckett, Richard Schechner, Philip Auslander and Peggy Phelan provide an artistic and cultural philosophy to forms of theatre, dance, art, sculpture, media and technology. Form is nothing to retain in expression but to explore, divide and rebuilt in a true expression of research. Collaboration of forms and philosophy is important in his work and is expressed throughout his work.
Franken is a freelance scholar and performative artist. Performance is a slippery concept to gather once the traditional ideas are challenged. What is performance? This is a question that has baffled scholars since mid-way through the 20th century, and one that is continued in a growing performance-based culture. When is the sign a sign? The semiotic is no longer confined in theatre and culture in the same way. How can we exploit this?
Working in areas of Philosophy, Performance Theory and Media/Culture Theory, Beaumont has been developed work that is not bound to the norm, but attempts to provoke thought and questions from an expression of ideas – the starting point to the work.