THE HYBRONAUT AND THE UMWELT: WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY AS ARTISTIC STRATEGY
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This dissertation explores the use of irony in networked wearable technology art as a strategy to emphasise the complexity of conjunction between techno-organic human and the techno-organic world. The research addresses the relationship between technologically enhanced human and networked hybrid environment, and speculates on the impact of technological enhancements to the subjective construction of Umwelt through ironic interventions. The project employs both artistic practice and critical theory. The practice-based part of the dissertation is comprised of three wearable technology artworks produced during the study. These concrete artefacts employ irony as a means to expose the techno-organic relationship between humans and their environment under scrutiny. The works highlight the significance of technological modifications of the human for the formation of subjective worldview in an everyday hybrid environment. The theoretical part navigates between the fields of art, design, technology, science and cultural studies concerning the impact of technology and networks on human experience and perception of the world. In the background of this research is biologist Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of the Umwelt, which is a subjective perception created by an organism through its active engagement with the everyday living environment. This dissertation focuses on the Umwelt that is formed in an interaction between hybrid environment and the technologically enhanced human, the Hybronaut. 4 Hybrid environment is a physical reality merged with technologically enabled virtual reality. The Hybronaut is an artistic strategy developed during the research based on four elements: wearable technology, network ability, irony and contextualised experience for the public. Irony is one of the prominent characteristics of the Hybronaut. Irony functions as a way to produce multiple paradoxical perspectives that enable a critical inquiry into our subjective construction of Umwelt. The research indicates that ironic networked wearable technology art presents an opportunity to re-examine our perception concerning the human and his environment.
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