Accepted Paper:

Brain/Bodies in Technocultures: Becomings and Impacts of Brain-Machine Interfaces  


Sigrid Schmitz (HU Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

Grounded in the material-semiotic framework of feminist materialism this paper explores recent constitutions of Brain-Machine Interfaces: the agential entanglements of bio-materiality, technology and socio-cultural inscriptions, their political impacts, and their outreaching aims into transhumanism.

Paper long abstract:

Current developments at the nexus of neuro-technologies apparently fragment the border between body, technology, culture, and society. Bodies and brains incorporate technology via connectivity with machines or prostheses. With Karen Barad's onto-epistemological framework of agential realism this talk questions the dynamic becomings of bio-techno-socio-cultural entanglements, including brains, bodies, EEG-caps, brain implants, connected computers and technical devices; all embedded in scientific and medical research, in socio-cultural contexts, norms and discourses, in markets and the military field, as well as in societal power relations?

While taking the multifaceted concept of brain plasticity, i.e. the perspective of 'the social forming the biological', this paper discusses how this concept has to be re-formulated for debates on agential materiality and to account for material (including technological)-semiotic constitutions without formulating closed entities.

However, analytically - and with the aim to research socio-economic-political impacts on and of current phenomenal constitutions of brain/bodies in technocultures - agential separability can be conducted by extracting timely-spatially agential cuts. For the most recent research and developments in Brain-Machine Interfaces, I elaborate closely the intra-actions and ongoing responsiveness of neuro-technologized brainbodies (Schmitz 2016). Moreover I question the role of scientific and socio-political "actors" (including norms and values) in this agential realization, and discuss the consequences of their socio-cultural embedding, their outreaching aims into transhumanism and the impacts of these "political objects" - not at least on gender and intersected power relations.

Alternative Track in case of rejection of the session:





Panel T159
Political Objects. Prescriptions, Injustices and Promises of Material Agents