As we progress into the ‘Electronic stage of the retribalized man’ – that being the ‘full sensory involvement’ with endless forms of technology and ways of extending our bodies using such mediums, it’s only fair to consider the effects this involvement has on our identity as humans. When increased developments of technology are born and hybridised out of one another and combined with our body, in ways both physical and psychological, it is clear we form a state of ‘reversal’ where we aspire to find ‘wholeness, empathy, and depth of awareness’ in the natural world to make us feel alive and as a result, more human-like. However, in many instances, the merging of technology with our bodies is hard to avoid, especially when used as a medical application. Applications such as insulin pumps, dialysis machines, and pacemakers are relied upon in ways we now can’t live without. The technology that keeps us alive therefore becomes a part of us, an extra organ or limb that is native to our body but keeps us functioning and as a result, we begin to develop a relationship with the interwoven medium that makes it hard to establish exactly where humanism ends and posthumanism begins.
Rigging as a practice of recreating movement is similar to the way in which creators of prosthetic limbs study the natural movement of the body and create structures that aids this natural movement. The difference between the two being the purpose for the creations of course. However, where prosthetic creation appears as a medical practice and rigging as a creative practice that is used merely for entertainment, it seems necessary to mention the overlaps that the two inevitably make. With prosthetic limbs, compared insulin pumps, dialysis machines and pacemakers – which are much harder to augment, it is easier to re-shape or re-design the product as it’s something you can take on and off the body, with a pair of prosthetic legs as an example, you are choosing your height, the shape of your legs and how they move, making you the ‘architect of your own body’, or indeed the rigger of your body’s movement, and in doing so, you may feel empowered as it’s something you might be in control of. But for those who have less control over the ways in which their body merges with a piece of technology used as medical equipment, it is likely that their social dynamic changes, not only compared to people who can augment their medical technology, but also compared to people who have no need for medical technology whatsoever, who use technology as something to dive in and out of on a day to day basis. For those who use medical devices that are relied upon hour to hour or even minute to minute, there might be a stronger sense of replacement and imposition from device to user, making the user feel less alive than the device itself.