It’s 2018, another year in this shared reality of ours. We’ve come a long way, perfecting our technological prowess as we continue our evolution into the post-human.
There are cyborgs out there. In fact, most of us are pretty much cyborgs at this point. However, it is indeed likely only some of us are truly beginning to tap into that potential.
Moon Ribas is known to the world as the Catalan avant-garde artist and a cyborg activist. Moon Ribas is one of those cyborgs, an example of the elegantly functional relationship between human and machine.
With an online seismic sensor directly implanted above her left elbow, she is able to perceive the vibrations of nearby earthquakes via data from a custom iPhone app that consolidates seismic activity from geological monitors around the world. Ribas then transposes this ‘seismic sense’ into bodily movement in her graceful performance known as Waiting for Earthquakes or into sound in her piece Seismic Percussion.
With the subdermal implant, Moon Ribas is able to further push the boundaries of perception and experience by means of personal augmentation. During the devastating 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, Ribas was awoken by a wave of vibrations in the middle of the night. She recalls it as the most peculiar of sensations, also describing it as her second heartbeat as she is able to empathize with the people experiencing the quake. This has lead her to advocate for a better understanding of the natural phenomena so that us humans may be able to better adapt to our own planet’s movements.
Along with Neil Harbisson, another fellow cyborg, they have co-founded the international organization Cyborg Foundation in the pursuit to help all the rest of us become post-human and to protect our rights as post-humans.
It is the insatiable creative thirst of humans like Moon Ribas that slowly pushes us to the inevitable brilliant future that is to come.
Moon Ribas is an artist and activist. More of her beautiful work can be found on her site.
~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 11, 2018
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space – Umberto Boccioni
The ideas of Transhumanism and post-humanist thought may seem as if they belong to the 21st century, but humans have been capturing such an imagination of the future by means of artistic expression way before they could see the state of technology today.
It was an 1909 when Italian poet F.T. Marinetti laid out the core tenets of the Futurism Movement in his manifesto. Futurism can be seen as one of the points of origin for the beautiful relationship of transhumanism and art. Born out of an era of a growing disdain for the fascist government in Italy and the state of the world at the time, Futurism called upon the prospect of bringing a future of youth, industry, and advancing technology. The Futurist Movement thus gave birth to an era of artists that aimed to capture the essence of a possible future where the lines between technology and human were completely blurred.
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is a bronze cast sculpture that is heavily regarded as one of the core works that truly represent the aesthetic of the Futurist Movement. It’s creator was Italian artist, Umberto Boccioni. Boccioni was one of the principal figures that shaped the art of Futurism as he advocated the use of dynamic movement and the deconstruction of masses.
In Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Boccioni presents viewers with a human figure with deconstructed masses that appear to be aerodynamic. The figure is engaged in pursuing one direction, almost as if it were its sole purpose; to move forward against the winds of demise. The deconstructed masses and lack of arms, or face for that matter, allows the viewer to perceive something that could be beyond human. It is evident that Boccioni wants us to see our body as nothing but a mere vessel that can be molded and shaped in any way imaginable, allowing us to transcend the boundaries of the physical, organic body. The lack of a discernible face implies that Boccioni believes that we should no longer identify who we are by how we perceive our current physical form. We are not bound by how we look in the mirror.
It is the creative minds like Boccioni that provoke the most profound questions concerning the state of humanity. Art is the very force that propels our human imagination forward. Now that we are nearing the end of 2017, I love looking back at how far we have come as a species despite the abundant setbacks. Art will never cease to encourage the human spirit to move forward because in the end, it is life that imitates art.
Left-click on the image for a fuller view. You can also download this painting (4846 by 7000 pixels) here.
Tranquil and contemplative, this painting of an alien moon seascape by Ekaterinya Vladinakova evokes worlds that humans could one day discover or create through terraforming. The vivid colors and stunning imagery of Vladinakova’s work inspire us to strive toward a future where the exploration of these worlds could become a reality.
Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.
One of the most beautiful aspects I find about technology is its ability to allow us new forms of control and manipulation. Technology allows us to simplify many processes that seemed impossible in the past. When it comes to furthering man’s creative expression, there is absolutely no exception.
With the development of new programs and devices, digital art has entered a new realm of divine possibilities. Now, artists have the ability to render massive dream-like worlds without the use of an expensive VFX team. Surreal visions and ideas are now visualized through GIFs and mini video clips all across the Internet. Mike Winkelmann, better known on the internet as Beeple, is one of those highly gifted artists who uses a plethora of programs like Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D, to name a few, to create intricate worlds that seem light-years into the future, or as near as tomorrow.
I’d describe Mike Winkelmann as a 3D juggernaut. He has been rendering images and GIFs every single day for the past few years now, furthering his abilities and creativity to bring us these awe-inspiring images of a possible future.
Zero-Day is a 3D ensemble directed by Winkelmann. Winkelmann pushes us through a mechanical wormhole of soul-pounding machines and whirling lights that are all in sync with a bass-crushing dubstep track. At first it may seem like an intense VJ clip, but in actuality it is a well-executed allegory of the evolution of technology and cyber warfare. Throughout the video, we hear and see fictional bits of interviews and news reports of the US developing new advances in cyber weapons and how that resonates with other global powers. It is a fictional account that seems like a near-perfect mirror of our current state of affairs, given the events of this past year. An epic commentary in all its cyberpunk glory, a masterpiece such as this should allow us to truly evaluate what we are doing now to for a future like that to happen. Maybe, that future is indeed already here. We can all agree that with new advancements in AI, the ongoing investigation of possible Russian influence of American politics through hacking, China becoming a leader in sustainable technology, and the many other accounts of technology entering the world of politics and global policy, Zero-Day doesn’t seem far off.
During our panel discussion on November 18th, participants spoke about how art influences people’s view of technology. It was agreed that there are many works that carry this dystopian outlook of the future, riddled with scenarios straight out of Orwell’s 1984. However, it is this type of work that should inspire us as the human race we are to ensure that we do not create this dystopian future, but instead aim to create a future in which technology amplifies life.
Mike Winkelmann is an accomplished VFX and motion graphics artist. More of his stunning work can be found on his site.
~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 24, 2017
U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel on Art and Transhumanism
Gennady Stolyarov II Emanuel Iral Rachel Lyn Edler John Marlowe R. Nicholas Starr Leah Montalto Kim Bodenhamer Smith Laura Katrin Weston Ekaterinya Vladinakova
On November 18, 2017, the U.S. Transhumanist Party invited leading artists in a variety of media and styles to a two-hour discussion, moderated by Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Director of Visual Art Emanuel Iral, on the subject of Art and Transhumanism, delving into how and which works of art can help inspire humans to pursue the next era of our civilization – through promoting the advancement of science and technology, rationality, and/or a more hopeful vision of the future. The panel also explored various interactions between art and technology and ways in which art can improve human connection and understanding, while also comprising the very improved functionality that emerging technologies provide.
Emanuel Iral is Director of Visual Art for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.
Emanuel’s artwork ranges from traditional paint and pencil work to 3D digital work. Currently he is working on his VFX and animation skills, as he is producing short films for his music. He encompasses his art under the term Prismatis – Latin for prism. A prism refracts white light into the three primary colors: yellow, magenta, and cyan. Prismatis is all about the aesthetic of human expression, which can be separated into the art, audience, and artist.
Rachel Lyn Edler
RachelLyn Edler is an accomplished graphic designer with over 20 years of creative experience. Rachel comes from a diverse background of product development, packaging and web design. In her free time she volunteers for several scientific and secular organizations including the Planetary Society, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Secular Coalition for America.
John Marlowe was educated in film theory and trained in film production at UC Berkeley. His outlook on film as a vehicle for social messaging has been largely influenced by his lifelong struggle with a genetic inborn error of metabolism, a type of disease that – until recently – was beyond the scope of medicine. Consequently, John feels it is his onus to emphasize the artist’s responsibility in shaping the conversation regarding medical research, to create a society more amenable to scientific progress, rather than one fearful of change.
Leah Montalto is a painter based in New York City and has maintained a successfully operating painting studio in New York for the past 12 years. Her paintings have been exhibited at the National Academy Museum of Fine Art in New York, and have been reviewed in the New York Times and the Providence Journal. Leah’s paintings have received awards including the National Academy Museum of Fine Art’s Hallgarten Prize in Painting and the NYC Cultural Commission arts grant. Leah is a former professor at Sarah Lawrence College, and has an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. Leah is not affiliated with the Transhumanist Party, but her paintings explore related themes.
Kim Bodenhamer Smith
Kim Bodenhamer Smith is a single mother of two boys living in Chattanooga, TN. She is a founding member of Southside Abbey, a Lay Missioner in The Episcopal Church, and an Outdoor Wear Business owner of Chilliheads. She is a caver, unicycler, and an aviation enthusiast and creator of #helichurch. She has a BFA in Metals and also studied Graphic Design and Political Science. *She also has many Tesla Tales to tell and is a Social Media Manipulator (different from a troll)!
R. Nicholas Starr
R. Nicholas Starr is an audio engineer and multimedia artist whose work focuses on Earth’s dystopias of past, present, and future. Also a biohacker, researcher, and theorist, he immerses himself in the subjects surrounding these worlds and has published several non-fiction articles and interviews. With an education in electronic signals intelligence from the United States Air Force, and 15 years of digital art and audio production in the US and abroad, he has become a unique voice for science fiction, the U.S. Transhumanist Movement, and American policy.
Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter and professional freelance illustrator. Vladinakova specializes in fantasy and science fiction work, but is also interested in editorial illustration. Vladinakova spends most of the day painting in Photoshop, creating scenes related to fantasy, or science fiction, as well as brushing up older works. Vladinakova’s paintings have been featured by the U.S. Transhumanist Party – including the “City of New Antideath” – a vision of the future which was commissioned for Mr. Stolyarov’s 30th Birthday.
Laura Katrin Weston
Dr Laura Katrin Weston is from England and studied Fine Art before going on to studying Medicine. She is a trained pathologist with a specialism in medical biochemistry and inflammation-related disease. She has used her medical knowledge and professional painting career to support Lifespan.io – one of the biggest life-extension research and advocacy charities. Laura is also vocalist for symphonic metal band Cyclocosmia – a music act that will be trying to raise awareness of transhumanist and human mortality issues in their next upcoming album.
The YouTube question/comment chat for this Q&A session has been archived here and is also provided below.
Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page here.
The anxiety of accidentally misplacing one’s phone, the fear that arrives of potentially missing important updates that could literally mean life or death is a reality all too real for many. It has become the norm of the 21st century to constantly check our phones and other devices for any signs of life; signs of connectivity to the world and others. We have become dependent to our devices, and humanity is slowly merging with and becoming inseparable from technology. The lines are almost totally blurred between man and machine but not only at a physical level, but now also delving deep within the emotional realm of the human psyche. That is exactly what Debra Lott beautifully illustrates in her oil painting series “The Human Condition“.
In her paintings, Debra depicts a colorful array of invasive wires, travelling between outlets and cybernetic implants, appearing almost constricting. According to the artist herself, the series visualizes the evolution of inter-relationship and inter-dependence between humanity and technology. “These figures symbolize the contemporary struggle to embrace, interact and stay current with 21st century technology; a love/hate relationship that empowers, improves quality of life, extends life and enslaves simultaneously.”
This love/hate relationship is what propels humanity to the impending future that looms near. It is a future where we must embrace the beautiful change that is to come as humanity’s capacity for knowledge increases and our manipulation of technology is nearly perfected. However, this future is overwhelming for some. Debra Lott offers a form of solace in the comfort that technology brings as she neutralizes the wires against backdrops of soothing pastel colors. Maybe one day machines will maximize the quality of life but will also know our every thought and emotion, maybe even hopes and desires.
‘Transhuman 31×48 Oil on Canvas’
Debra Lott is a figurative oil painter and art educator. See the rest of her series and other work here.
~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 11, 2017
Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova
Ekaterinya Vladinakova’s lush work plunges viewers into a vivid vision of the possible future. Friable strokes of dust rush along the barren cracks that mark the Red Planet as depicted in her Test-Tube Tomato Still-Life. Vladinakova examines the basic question of how might humans grow crops and other necessary resources on a planet as desolate as Mars.
The gleam of the sun’s halo refracts over the surface of a hopeful tomato plant growing within a glass beaker. This may just be one of possibilities actualized once humans overcome the hurdle of successfully arriving on the surface Mars. Harnessing the power of photosynthesis in controlled environments devoid of soil or constant sunlight may prove to be feasibly effective. As one research team from the University of Florida found, plants can fare off pretty well with low light and zero-gravity conditions. Various plants were monitored on the International Space Station orbiting some 350 kilometers above Earth at the time. Researchers observed that the plants monitored showed no signs of impeded growth despite being in an environment devoid of gravity or constant light.
Another possibility is terraforming. With companies like SpaceX leading the mission towards full colonization of Mars, terraforming has been a topic of much debate. Terraforming would include the process of completely manipulating the atmosphere of the planet in order to recreate the ideal conditions of sustaining life. Such a process is arduous and would require a considerable amount of resources to even begin. Yet, it is still a possibility not far from our grasp.
Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.
~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, October 31, 2017
Terraforming of Mars – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova
Left-click on the image for a fuller view. You can also download this painting (3200 by 800 pixels) here.
This piece was painted by Ekaterinya Vladinakova in January 2016 as a tribute to Space X’s reusable rocket success. As a result of these pioneering steps, perhaps humankind will someday, hopefully during our lengthened lifetimes, establish settlements on Mars like the ones depicted in this painting. This painting is available for viewing and download on Ekaterinya Vladinakova’s DeviantArt page here.
Artist’s Comments: Being able to re-use a rocket has the potential to make space travel MUCH cheaper, by a factor of a hundred. The reason is because the fuel costs something around 200,000 dollars, while the rocket costs millions. The problem with today’s rockets is we use them once, and then they are thrown away. An analogy would be using a 747 aircraft for only one trip; think of just how expensive it would be. The significance of SpaceX’s second launch was that it was done on a floating platform. The benefit of such a platform is that it would save more fuel for the rocket, since the ocean platform can move, and less fuel overall is spent navigating the rocket back to base.
Ekaterinya Vladinakova is an accomplished digital painter. See her gallery here and her DeviantArt page here.
“The Singularity is Here” – Paintings by Leah Montalto
Left-click on the thumbnails below to see a higher-resolution, downloadable image of each painting.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to feature art by painter Leah Montalto, inspired by the concept of the Singularity. These paintings were originally exhibited at the Reis Experimental Gallery in Long Island City, NY, during March 23-25, 2016. See the page for the original exhibit, “The Singularity is Here“.
“The paintings are a celebratory valuing of life. They are symbolic of the wonder inherent in the art of creation and building, alluding to the potential for the advancement of civilization. The paintings celebrate the impulse toward reason, innovation, creation, and liberty.” – Leah Montalto
Description from “The Singularity is Here” Exhibit:
In her large-scale paintings, Leah Montalto explores the visible and the invisible, the physical and the metaphysical, envisioning an expansion in both material and inner dimensions. With a masterful deployment of color, and a dynamic sense of motion, her paintings defy convention by simultaneously revealing two paradoxical perspectives.
From one perspective, Montalto’s paintings are classical landscapes, inspired by the tradition of the Hudson River Landscape School. Montalto creates futurist landscapes, taking the viewer on a three-dimensional journey through outer space, and through imagined nanotech creation scenes in scales both massive and miniature. Structures break apart, coalesce, and reform as she evokes the spirit of creation, transformation, and reconstruction.
From a second perspective, Montalto’s paintings are two-dimensional abstract paintings, evoking the physiological effect of gazing at a Tibetan mandala, offering an entry to an internal space of reflection, contemplation, and illumination.
With these paradoxical yet simultaneous perspectives – alternating between three-dimensional space and internal vision, Montalto’s paintings evoke an exhilarating sense of the potential of new worlds and new ways of thinking. Montalto’s paintings present an optimistic view of the future, of transformational possibilities, and of a merging of the material environment and the psyche, and of nature and technology.
Leah Montalto was born in Boston, MA in 1979. She lives and works in New York City and Queens, NY. Montalto holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Academy Museum of Fine Art’s Hallgarten Prize for Excellence in Painting, and a New York City Cultural Commission Individual Artist Grant. Exhibitions of her work include shows at the National Academy Museum of Fine Art in New York City, Priska Juschka Fine Art Gallery in New York City, Reis Experimental Gallery in Queens, University of Michigan Gallery in Ann Arbor, and the Korea Biennial. Montalto has taught painting at Sarah Lawrence College, State University of New York at Purchase, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Connecticut, and Rhode Island School of Design.
City of New Antideath – Painting by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, Commissioned by Gennady Stolyarov II
For my coming thirtieth birthday, I have commissioned a colossal cityscape depicting my vision and hope for the future progress of humankind. Artist Ekaterinya Vladinakova, a long-time supporter of transhumanism and life extension, was the evident best choice for this project.
The City of New Antideath represents a future society which has overcome death, disease, and today’s principal sources of material scarcity and discomfort. This city contains more than ample living space in ornate, radiantly illuminated skyscrapers. Smaller villas, domed towers, and other luxuriously ornamented buildings adorn the central walkways. There is ample room for pedestrian traffic and plant growth sculpted into geometrically complex patterns – including on the rooftop terraces of many of the mega-skyscrapers.
Flying cars and autonomous drones appear as streaks of light from the ground level. There is so much room for aerial transportation that no more traffic jams exist on the ground. One can opt for efficient transport, or for open-ended leisurely walking, and the two modes will not collide.
Over the years I have created a large number of building models using Sketchup, Minecraft, and even LEGO bricks. In my quest for permanence, they – or images of them – have been preserved and provided to the artist for inspiration. The first City of Antideath consisted of my Sketchup models. The City of New Antideath was not intended to be an exact replica, but rather a successor inspired by the prospect of juxtaposing the best architectural elements of all eras – past and yet to come.
I conveyed to Ekaterinya Vladinakova that the skyscrapers should exhibit a variety of bold colors and geometric shapes – but also be orderly and ornate. I have a great admiration for historical architecture from the 16th through 19th centuries – so while some of the buildings are geometric and futuristic, others borrow significant elements from Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, or Victorian styles. Russian and Eastern architectural traditions find their manifestations in this cityscape as well. The idea is to portray a future of extreme diversity, where all of these elements will exist side by side and interact with one another in interesting ways. Far from cultural separatism or tribalism, the future needs to borrow and develop upon the best elements from all cultures, times, and places. The culture of New Antideath is rational, scientific, progress-oriented, universalist, cosmopolitan, and at the same time hyperpluralist and welcoming of all peaceful individuals.
The most significant vision I have for this artwork is that it will become the iconic vision of a techno-positive future. Accordingly, I am rendering it available for free download and distribution via a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License so that it might be used by others who seek illustrations of a future we can all aspire for.
I still hope that I was not born too soon – that I may someday personally witness and experience a future of this sort. But for now, although the third decade of my life did not see such a future emerge, I am happy at least to have enabled its depiction so that others can be inspired to strive toward it. Given that our immediate world has become suffused by a pervasive, destructive malaise over the past two years, we will need visions such as this to overcome it and achieve better ways to be.
There are three versions of this digital painting available for free download (left-click on the links to open, right-click to download):
– Original Size (11250 by 18100 pixels – a vast canvas with immense detail. Note: This file size is immense as well – but you will be able to zoom in to view individual buildings and regard them as smaller-scale paintings in their own right.)
For those seeking musical accompaniment in viewing this painting, I recommend my Transhumanist March, Op. 78 (2014) (MP3 and YouTube) or Man’s Struggle Against Death, Op. 58 (2008) (MP3 and YouTube).