The First Supper: Living and Working with Artifactual Life Forms
Kenneth Gross in his essay "Moving Statues, Talking Statues" imagines the day when sculptures step off their pedestals to join us for dinner. He is certain we will need a manual for dealing with these creatures, a helpful "handbook (suitable for poets, critics, and sculptors--at once a history, a book of spells, a courtesy manual, and a diagnostic treatise)" that will tell us how properly to address these foreign guests, how to dispel their misconceptions, and how, if necessary, to insult and even to destroy them. That day--when human artifacts come to dinner--is rapidly approaching. Technology is evolving, separating itself from the human to become autonomous life forms. As robots and virtual creatures begin to populate our social space, fragments of "a history, a book of spells, a courtesy manual, and a diagnostic treatise" are rapidly taking shape. Papers and artwork presented in these panels will examine what philosophy, film, literature, critical theory, and human-computer interaction have to say about the 'proper human' and its relationship to other humans, the thing, and the animated beings in between.