Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Artists at the Edge: Natasha Vita-More (2)"

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Thursday, 07 September 2006 07:26  

Last month we took a look at part one of the Natasha Vita-More interview. Now, we'll conclude with part 2. Enjoy!

11) You've had a keen interest in the nexus of science, art, & culture for quite some time. Can you say a few words about the function of your organization & web-site Transhumanist Arts & Culture?

Transhumanist Arts was introduced as an "art theory" in 1982. The "Transhumanist Arts Statement" establishes a poetic doctrine of transhumanist expression. By 1990 Transhumanist Arts had become an arts period reflecting the timeframe of transhumanity-the global transhumanist culture. By the late 1990s, Transhumanist Arts was recognized as an art period and an organization for artistic and innovative thinkers worldwide.

Transhumanist Arts focuses on a positive, meta-creative and enlightened view of human potential, aesthetic design in technology, the prevalence of science, and aestheticism in the future architecture of life.

With the exhilaration of super fast computers, AI, SI, biotechnological breakthroughs, nanotechnology, and prospects of superlongevity, the Singularity, the very contour of art is undergoing a facelift - an emendation. These scientific and technological meta-changes affect the visions of artists. The latest watershed advances occurring in the world around us directly affect the aesthetics of our visions. Our senses are alert, excited, moved, and impassioned by the pulsating rhythm of culture.

12) As Tinfoil Music is focused primarily on music, can you share any ideas you have about the future of music?

Natasha with husband Max More and actor William Shatner.

There is just about nothing as sensational as feeling music throughout our bodies - to have it move the core of our being. Music is an ultimate art because in our imaginations it becomes visual and three dimensional. It can make us laugh or make us weep. It can make us feel sexy or maternal; proud or shy.

Several elements can and will affect the future of music: First, of course, there is the mechanism through which artists create music. Musicians will enjoy new types of instruments, performing and recording options. Music will also be used more effectively to educate and heal.

13) Do you have any favorite musicians, and what's in the stereo at home?

Moby, Dead Can Dance, Shaman, and most tech music as long as it does not produce a perpetual and often redundant repetitious of the main motive in the movement. Early works of Kate Bush and Annie Lennox. I like the current works of Kelly Clarkson and one piece especially, Eminem's "Loose Yourself". I love Andre Bocelli's Italian pop-operatic sound. I'm a big fan of Motown and R&B sound. I also am inspired by choral pieces. But mostly I listen to ambient techno and House.

14) Does the music in your car differ from the music at home? Do you have music you like to work out to?

Yes. Driving I like listening to the news and talk radio. At home I enjoy loud ambient techno music. Working out, I love anything that has a rhythm and beat to breath to.

15) On the topic of working out: You've been into body sculpting for a long time. In fact, you hold 2 certifications from the AMFA and have been featured in a few magazines for your bodywork, and even featured your work-out routine on your web-site. What sort of training do you currently do?

Body sculpting with weights to develop and carve muscle for anaerobic; outdoor sports such as cycling and downhill skiing for aerobic; and yoga for structural balance and developing lean, flexible muscle.

16) Do you see a link between body sculpting and art?

Yes in a way I do. I see body sculpting as a rhythmic. When working out I focus on the muscle, breathing, strength and control. Most importantly I am looking at my form and attempting to move in a dancer-like pattern. 

17) In addition to your art, such as "Primo Posthuman", you have spoken about body modification extensively. You and your husband, philosopher Max More, were featured in Wired Magazine, & you've been featured in countless other publications where you spoke openly about not only external body mod, but "psychological fine-tuning" and even full body replacement. Can you give Tinfoil readers an overview of some of these ideas?

Sure. I have developed an idea and a future body prototype called "Primo Posthuman" which illustrates how the human body may look like in the coming decades. By look like, I mean internally, for the most part. Our external features will remain fairly close to what the human looks like today, with a few modifications emphasizing style and efficiency in transportation. For example, the brain will be able to function at a higher rate of cognitive capability, with an enhanced memory, intellection, creativity, and the ability to perform decision making skills with a "decision assist" and "replay" for feedback. One of the problems we have to day is an inability to backup our brains - or cognitive processes which create or memories, both instant and distant. Other internal modifications will be the merging of our biology with nanorobots and artificial intelligent agents to develop better ways for the body to communicate with the brain, and thus our mind or personas. I say "personas" because we will be able to inhabit more than one "body." Our bodies will be real time and virtual, for example. And we can have more than one personality type. We can have one of us performing job tasks while the other one is skiing down a Telluride Mountain ski run, and yet another attending a conference on overcoming world poverty. Just as we today can "multi-track," tomorrow we will actually multi-track in separate environments. Of course there would have to be a type of control center and that would be the lead persona and the others would work under the auspices of the lead.

The point is that humanity will live longer and many are proactive about living longer. We cannot live longer in the current biological bodies that we have today. These bodies, as exquisite as they are in their evolution, are unstable and cannot protect us, much less satisfy our current and future needs. We need to be healthy and vital. Our bodies get in the way. Therefore we need to enhance or modify our bodies so that they are better equipped to perform their tasks of transporting us from one place to another, providing a lot of fun with physical sports and lovemaking, give us emotional rewards by the way we "feel" about things that make us happy, provide us with warnings by the way we hurt when we do something that is not good for us. The bodies also need help with the mental activities, as I stated earlier, such as memory, etc.

How we "look" is secondary to how well we are performing.

18) Several current pieces have popped up in science journals that, put bluntly, bash the need for sex in the future and even espouse the notion that 100 years from now, if futurists are correct, both sex & gender will be meaningless terms. Others, like your friend Ray Kurzweil, have objected to this view. What are your current ideas about the future of gender & sex?

Ridiculous! Sex, sexuality, sensuality will be around for eons. They will indeed change from what we know today into something perhaps quite different in the future, and it may not be the rubbing together of mucus membranes, but the "feeling" and "emotion" are so lovely that they will be around. I have written about the future of gender and sex in 1997: http://www.natasha.cc/sex.htm

19) You seem to have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. In addition to a college degree or two, you also have certificates in law (paralegal studies), technical writing, animation, and more. What are your current interests?

Finishing my MS in Studies of the Future and starting to work on a PhD from the University of Plymouth in England. I'd like to teach a course in transhumanist scenarios through Extropy Institute or some other organization.

20) Last question: The issue of intellectual property has been a hot one since both the Napster thing and the African AIDS patent-bust. Clearly it is not as simple an issue (i.e. - "information wants to be free" versus "downloading is theft") as the general media has framed it, and as the majority of the public has bought. What is your take on the proper balance of the rights of IP creators (artists, musicians, etc.), the financiers (record labels, movie studios, etc.), and the public?

Information is free, but ideas are not.

No one has the right to take an idea from someone else and not credit that person or persons with the origin of the idea.. No one has the right to take one's work, in the arts or elsewhere, which is the livelihood of the person or persons, and use it without properly providing a barter or payment to the value of what the art is worth to the person or persons who created it or without permission.

Thanx for talking with us, Natasha!

Thank you!

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