Lectures / 04/03/2009 7:30 pmBody?
Clone, model or monster: What will tomorrow’s human beings look like? Visions in fantastic literature
Changing the appearance of our bodies is a matter of everyday routine for us. Fashion, the cosmetics industry, technology, medicine and IT develop ever more sensational methods that become part of breathtaking scenarios in the hands of the writers of fantastic literature. The biotech humans of tomorrow have overcome disease, old age and death; they have themselves cloned and their perfect offspring created by designers. However, the human wish to be infinitely perfectible is by no means new. Long before genetic engineering, anti-aging, cosmetic surgery, organ transplantation and virtual worlds were buzzwords, there were all those stories about werewolves, fairies, monsters and about metamorphoses, in which human beings morphed into animals, plants or stones. The manipulability of the human body gives rise to the most daring and at the same time to the scariest visions of mankind. How these visions are created; how they change over time; why they are so interesting for the researcher; what means may be deployed in order to bring alternative visions of the world and of humanity into circulation; and to what effect this is done are topics dealt with in this short presentation, which is illustrated by graphic thought experiments.