How to Change the World(ing):

Blurring the Boundaries of Agency towards a Posthuman Future

Abstract

Our lives are intertwined in a relationality exceeding the boundaries of humanism. Posthumanism is a multidisciplinary research field for designing new perspectives on the world, where ‘human’ is not central to the existence with a privilege to use, control and exploit other beings, by rejecting the anthropocentric views of causality and agency. The understanding of these terms has been shifting from humanism to posthumanism in academia since the 80s. Yet, as we shall see, this shift has long been happening in the art scene, starting from modern art. My purpose with this study is to explore if and how contemporary new media art can entail a change towards a posthuman world. To see if art can change the world, I first analysed the shift of the notion of agency from humanism to posthumanism and how it resonated itself in arts, prior to academia. Then, I intended to theorize a framework for thinking about new media art, specifically AI(Artificial Intelligence) art, which can hopefully give rise to the new understanding of a more-than-human agential world that posthumanism has been building. I have undertaken a case study to demonstrate my theory as well as to test its validity on a contemporary work which is Mosaic Virus, by Anna Ridler, a new media artwork that integrates emergent technologies of the 21st century.