How worried should we be to find out that – a ‘tech crèche’ has been created for people who are unable to disconnect from their mobile devices while out and about in the natural world. This is what the New Forest Nature Reserve in the South of England has come up with. It’s a great idea and has the best intentions, encouraging people to switch off from their gadgets and enjoy the natural sights and sounds of the forest. But why do we need someone to help us do this? Why the need for a crèche? Out and about I noticed that pubs use a similar method to encourage customers, advertising crèche facilities for husbands while wives go out and shop. There’s a funny side to this of course. But the serious question is have we become addicted to technology? I know I would be lost without my phone. It’s a very unimpressive phone but it is an extension of my functioning. The things it contains, notes, alerts, reminders, messages. It’s not only a directory but a calendar too. While for other people their Facebook updates maybe the priority – which of course is no less important, the social life and the constant connection with other people is vital to modern living. But when fiddling with our gadgets is so much more important than a conversation with the person next to us that an outside entity has to remind us we need to switch off, things become very disturbing indeed. I wonder if we’re so integrated to the collective fabric that we’re entirely unable to do things alone or independently. Because if we were, we would be able to make a decision at home to leave our devices there in order to have a peaceful day out with the family. But we don’t do this because of the slight risk that the car might breakdown on route to wherever in which case we’ll need a phone to call the motorway recovery service. That’s almost a sensible reason, somewhat neurotic, though still possible, especially if you’ve got an old car. The problem is we often act as though our gadgets are a part of our memory or as stated above, a part of our daily functioning. Perhaps, after all, it isn’t long before we are wired up so much that our brain becomes one with technology?
Artist Neil Harbisson has gone that step further and is now recognised as a living cyborg. He has an antenna implanted in his skull. The antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colours such as infrareds and ultraviolets via sound waves. He can also receive images as sounds, videos as sounds, and music or phone calls directly into his head.
Ziwon Wang’s “cybernetic” sculptural works explores the relationship between man and technology.
“The natural human features of Wang’s ‘post-human’ or ‘post-person’ sculptures with its serene and meditative expression are juxtaposed against the disjointed mechanical components, creating a jarring spectacle to the viewer. At the core of Wang’s works is the issue of decision making- the emotive human decisions against the coded and system judgments made by machines. Wang is concerned with the status of human thought and how it will transgress to the future. Wang’s interest in the manifestation and translation of the human decision making process in works of art through the passage of time can be found in the Buddha like poses which questions whether advancement of machinery and technology has, if any, changed the fundamental elements of human life.” [Source ]